Yet Another United Airlines Update

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I sent a snippy email to United Airlines customer relations about their failure to deal with my Refund request, only to find out that a refund had actually been made to my credit card (even though they were supposed to call to discuss first)? And then CR followed up asking for ticket info? Well, as suspected, their failure to communicate with each other looks as though it might result in a double refund for me. It’s due to hit my card in the next day or two. Hm, the refund amount is greater than my current balance…if only that meant Citibank would be paying me 19.99% interest!

Meanwhile, my mother continues to get the royal runaround for her refund/compensation. Some kind of “certificate” was supposedly sent in the last email, but there was no insert or attachment…and she really needed it. Bridezilla begged her to come out for her not-quite-mother-in-law’s memorial service next week, so we looked into using airmiles for the ticket. She needed 25,000 for the ticket but only had 21,000. To transfer miles from Bridezilla’s account, United would charge $196. Alternatively, she could buy 5000 miles for $100. Then to cash in the miles, that would cost another $100-110. So that “free” ticket was going to cost $200-300. To buy a ticket from a site like Orbitz, UA, Travelocity, etc., we were looking at $650ish.

For the hell of it, and for the first time in years, Mom went to Priceline and put in a low-ball bid of $250 — and to her great surprise, got it for a total (incl fees and taxes) of $299. I guess it’s a quiet time for Aspen, given that last week was Gay Ski Week and this week is the X Games. Too bad I don’t like winter sports, because after her bid was accepted, she was offered another ticket on the same itinerary at the same price for a friend. Hm, new features and you can save more than $30…maybe I should see if Priceline has found a way to bid on international flights that takes into consideration the huge differences in the way airlines classify fares v. fees (two tickets can cost the same, say $1000, but one will be $500 ticket + $500 taxes while the other is $800 ticket + $200 taxes). That’s why I gave up on the site years ago.

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3 Responses

  1. Be sure to set aside the double refund just in case UA discovers its “mistake”! I’m not a fan of the opaque sites like Priceline. I’d rather know what my itinerary is and what hotel/airline I’m flying before I buy. I wouldn’t bid on Int’l flight, especially.

  2. It’s only $114 – I don’t fly so close to the wind that I can’t cover it if they discover their mistake a week, a month, or a year from now. And if the amount was so high that I would worry about being able to pay it back, I’d probably have an ethical problem with keeping it in the first place.

    I used to love using Priceline – I was able to take trips I would otherwise have been able to afford. My best score was a ticket to Brazil in 2002 for $380 when the best “transparent” fare out there was $780. I was unemployed at the time, so the itinerary wasn’t terribly important.

  3. I did priceline and hotwire a few times in college when price was the most important thing. Now I’d rather pick my flights, my airlines and all that. Some airlines I won’t fly.

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