Airline Restrictions - Assholes abound!

This ain’t mundane or pointless, but I thought it was too specific for my own personal needs to be A General Question, and a lot of people whose input might be useful here don’t cruise The Pit very often…

I purchased two trips worth of airline tickets for someone. That person will not be using them. Ever. Draw your own conclusions as to whom and why. E-mail me if you need a clue…

Anyway, one airline tells me they should have no problem taking care of me. While I have yet to come to a full resolution with this company, they appear ready to make sure that I get the credit for a future trip, and might even refund my full amount to my credit card.

Now, for the evil company. They gladly cancelled the trip, but say that a refund is impossible, and that any credit for a future flight GOES TO THE TICKETED PERSON, not me, who paid for the trip.

In other words, if you buy two tickets for you and your fiancee to have a dream honeymoon, and she leaves you at the alter because she’s boning your best man, SHE gets the credit on those tickets and can use it (with the usual fee), not you, the person who PAID for them!

Is this obscene or what?

I argued it out with a customer service rep from the agency, someone at the airlines, and that person’s supervisor. All of them harped about how the tickets were “non-transerable.” None of them care about my situation. In fact, the supervisor flat out said that the only way to get money from them if you buy a ticket in someone else’s name is TO FAX IN A DEATH CERTIFICATE OF THE TICKETED PASSENGER!!

Now, I may be a bit upset at the person whom I purchased the ticket for, but that is a bit extreme…

I am faxing a nicely worded, yet sternly toned letter to my credit card company, whom I hope will be able to do something about what is now a disputed charge (the reason, the nice CS rep at my Visa’s company told me, was Non-Receipt of Services with Extenuating Circumstances).

What I ask Dopers here is if they have any experience in matters such as this, and how did it turn out? Any lawyers here with an opinion? Am I fucked? Or will I be able to get fair treatment?

I purchased my tickets on-line. This means, I could LIE and say the person who is ticketed used my card without my permission, but I’m not keen on this for a few reasons. 1) Lying even to get fair treatment is bad IMHO, 2) The person might get into trouble, and since all she did was break my heart, not any laws, I don’t dig that and 3) I already told them the real reasons. No turning back now.

By the way, the good airlines is Southwest. The evil airlines is US Air. Feel free to make a mental note of this information as to how airlines treat their customers the next time you are making travel arrangements.

Yer pal,

Acknowledge and move on, dude.


Forget about lying- it won’t work. You are doing the right thing by disputing the charge through Visa. If one airline gave you a refund, maybe you can get a copy of their refund policy to share with the evil company- showing that their competitors treat their customers better then they do. Also send a copy of that policy to Visa in case they can use it to fight your charge.

Then, if you end up boned, chalk it up as a lesson learned, get over it, and move on. No point in beating yourself up over it. It’s only money. (Really, it is)


Click here for some GOOD news for a change


I don’t know how much money is involved but that’s beside the point. This is a stupid policy that has to be fought. And while I know it’s only money, it’s your money, you’ve worked hard for it so give 'em hell. Zette has a good idea though by showing USAir what a bunch of morons they are.

Why should I care about posterity? What’s posterity ever done for me?

  • Groucho Marx

Update… Southwest waived the fee and issued a voucher to me so only I can use it.

Sent the fax to my credit card company…

While I appreciate the thoughts of everyone here for my personal dillema, I really am trying to see what precedents are out there for my airline dilema in this particular thread…

Yer pal,

I agree you’re taking the right approach with the credit card company.
However, if you’ve got some time to kill and some agression to work out, you may want to continue on with the airline itself (especially if you think the CC company isn’t doing all it can for you). I work at the corporate office of a telecom interest, and for the past 2 years, my main job has been to assist customers who couldn’t get satisfaction through “normal channels”, that is, customer service, supervisors, etc. It has been my experience that if you keep asking, and demanding the next level of authority, all the while maintaining a level of calm but righteous indignation
, you will get what you want. Good luck!

I’m not surprised to hear that the evil airline was USAir. Their customer service policy has always been “Sit Down and Shut Up!”

I would suggest escalating the complaints to higher levels, possibly working up to some VP. Eventually they’ll get tired and give you some settlement, possibly a voucher for a 2nd bag of peanuts on a future flight (domestic only, non-transferable).

As a travel agent of over 20 years, I can attest that what Satan has stated is the standard policy for all major airlines. Many, if not most, airlines will at least offer a voucher in instances such as his, but if they feel like being pricks, well, they’ve got the money and they ain’t inclined to give it back.

<commercial> That’s why I’d recommend a travel agency. They usually have some closer ties with the airlines’ account reps and often can “pull strings” to get the money back. </commercial>

With that said, I’d just keep on moving up the chain of command…over the phone if possible. You might get some satisfaction there. Visa might be able to help, but in the long run, the airline is within their contracted rights to keep the cash.

You might want to try appearing in person at a city ticket counter or at the airport in order to deal with a live person. The people behind the counter have a great deal of leeway in applying or bending their rules.

This sounds odd to say, but good luck, Satan.


I did go through an agency of sorts - Yahoo! Travel. They only stated policy and connected me to US Air’s customer “service” in response to my indignation.

That sounds bad… I wasn’t quite an asshole, but I can certainly work my way up to that level…

In any event, as I said above, they DID offer a voucher - to THE TICKETED PERSON. I would accept that in lieu of a complete refund, but it has to be to ME, not the ticketed douche bag…

Did I say that aloud? Sorry…

Yer pal,

Brian –

Sorry to hear about what I think it is you are telling us.

Sadly, from a legal point of view, I think you’re out of luck. This is the contract term that you agreed to when you purchased the ticket, and the airline is, strictly speaking, within its legal right to insist on adherence to the contract terms.

That being said, I agree with those above who state that continuing to work your way up the ladder in terms of personnel, always being polite but sincere and insistent, will probably work. Do you belong to U.S.Air’s frequent flier program, by chance? They might have a customer service representative who wants to keep you happy, especially if you are a big user of their services. By all means politely advise them that Southwest has made an exception under the circumstances.

This is one of those situations where you’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, because they are holding all the cards, so you have to give them some business reason to do what you want; they have no legal obligation to do so.

Good luck.


My advice in these situations is:

  1. Never accept a “no” from someone who can’t say “yes.” As other posters have pointed out, you have to keep climbing the chain of command. (whew, that was a mixed metaphor; I guess you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make a silk purse out of a pig in a poke.) Sooner or later you’ll get someone who has the airline’s best interests at heart, instead of a drone who has been handed a policy and is carrying it out with bureaucratic indifference.

  2. be firm but polite. Don’t give them an excuse to disconnect. And I have always had better results when I state the problem and then specify the solution I want, rather than just saying “what are you gonna do about it?” (not saying you did that, just making a general observation.)

Live a Lush Life
Da Chef

I’ll chime in with Zette and missdavis. Call the bank or credit union that issued your credit card and ask what you have to do to stop payment on the tickets.
I’d get the specifics and I wouldn’t wait. While some companies give you 90 days after the date of purchase to stop payment, others only give you 30.

Sounds like you are outta luck. From the legal standpoint, you in effect, bought a gift for the ‘bag’. It is already considered owned by her regardless of who purchased it.

Now, that doesn’t mean that the airline shouldn’t do something to help you out. they should just to keep you a customer, which is what most companies (not airlines–see my airline thread) would do. But thing happens all the time in property disputes.

Of course, all my legal expertised was learned to me by judge judy.

We live in an age that reads to much to be wise, and thinks too much to be beautiful–Oscar Wilde

Melin is right about the airline’s legal rights, and she and the other posters are right about how best to proceed. Some background and a negotiating tactic:

When you talk to US-scare, specifically mention Southwest. As you doubtless know, US-scare has pretty much owned your part of the country since American shrunk their hub (when was that, 94?).

U is a high-cost airline, and lower-cost Southwest has targeted them in Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte, Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

Once you get beyond the script-reading drones who first answer the phone, you may find that mentioning to the supervisor how much better the new guys treated you gets results.

Oh, BTW, don’t call them US-scare to their face. They hate that.

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

Just one suggestion…if the airline will not refund you the money, have you considered asking your ex for the money? If the ticket is indeed in her name, maybe you two could work out a deal where she pays you the money for the ticket, then she can use it to go where ever she ends up wanting to go to.

Or, as others have suggested, go through your credit card company. After all is said and done, boycott said “evil airline” and make sure to tell all your friends about their poor customer service.

“We are what we pretend to be.”

  • Kurt Vonnegut

You are aware this is the person who broke up with me in an e-mail, right?

Yer pal,

Usair is the spawn of a much darker lord than thee. BOYCOTT USAIR. They suck my ass, your ass, and anyone else in the near vicinity who can’t manage to get their pants up fast enough.

My condolences.

I didn’t read your “break up” thread until after I had posted in this thread. So I guess trying to get the money from her is a long shot. Like I said, it was just a suggestion. I had also forgotten about the fact that you and her live in different parts of the country. So go with my next suggestion, talk to your credit card company and see if they can stop payment. If they can’t, then I don’t know what else you can do. Of course, if you’re feeling real vindictive, you could always sue her for the money (definitely a last resort option), although this may not be legally possible in this situation.

“We are what we pretend to be.”

  • Kurt Vonnegut

I’d truly advise against trying to sue her for it, not that I think that’s what Brian’s thinking about doing. First, I doubt if there’s enough money involved to make it worth his while. Second, the tickets were bought as a gift, and there really isn’t any legal theory that he could prevail on, that I’m aware of. (Disclaimer: If you are interested in pursuing this, of course check with a lawyer familiar with your state’s laws.)

Brian, here’s a wicked thought: I don’t know how much money is involved, but if you have no success in getting it back, why not make a gift of it to her? With all the fuss, feathers, whistles and bells accompanying it? (Meaning, of course, done graciously and with no obvious trace of sarcasm.) Would score you major points in both the “high class” category as well as the “revenge” category – likely to make her feel really bad about the breakup and speed her on her way to realizing what it is that she lost.


Make her feel bad? I doubt it, Mel. Just from reading this girl’s posts-- and both her websites-- I’d say she has all the emotional maturity of your average fourth-grader. If Satan tells her to keep the tickets, he’ll be lucky if she says “thanks” before flying off to visit some other Internet pal.

Satan, I hope you get your refund. Keep us posted.

Laugh hard; it’s a long way to the bank.