Cranky on the Web (July 30 – August 3)


Priceline Now Sells American’s Preferred Seats—Here’s Why It MattersConde Nast Daily Traveler
This may not seem like a big deal that you can now buy preferred seats on American via Priceline, but it is.

In the Trenches: When Your Vendors Make Business DifficultIntuit Small Business Blog
Sometimes, the airlines make things very difficult for travel agents and we end up looking terrible.

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8 comments on “Cranky on the Web (July 30 – August 3)

  1. Your ‘In the Trenches’ ordeal is simple to explain, the airlines can do whatever they want. Sounds like when your client in Australia called they simply got the airline agent on the phone who didn’t check to see it was an agency booking so just upgraded the client.

  2. Re: In The Trenches:
    I’d get into the habit of recording potentially dicey phone calls with the airline. Given that they generally notify you verbally that a recording may/will be made, I think you’re in the clear, but it’d be best to check with your lawyer, since California is an all party consent state when it comes to telephone calls..

    1. Nick – I’m not sure how much good that will do. It would help me to explain to the client but it doesn’t make the experience any better for him.

      1. Hrm.. Well you could probably argue that they broke a contract.. That being said you need to still be able to do business with them, so perhaps that won’t work..

  3. I highly doubt that anyone who buys tickets through Priceline has any interest in paying extra for “preferred” seats.

    1. May be true, but give it time and soon you may have the option to purchase checked bags, extra legroom, and more…

  4. Brett,

    With regard to your cancellation problem, I think you have to eat the charge or continue working with the airline to get a refund.

    Why? Assuming you’re working with AA, AA has this to say about schedule changes:

    In your case, first things first, if your client ultimately eats the charge, he could be left thinking that you got in the way and he would not have eaten the charge had he not involved a middle man. He’s correct in his thinking, and that’s very bad for your business. You need to be value-added for the fees you charge.

    Second things second, I believe you client has a contractual right to a refund. (You refer to a “several” hour delay in arrival… I assume you mean greater than 2.) In this event, he’s still paying you so he does not have to deal with the airline.

    One last thing: When you guys were first notified of the schedule change, did you do anything to indicate to the airline that you accepted the changes? Usually, you don’t have to, and I don’t think you should if it’s not required.

    I hate to be this blunt (and I’m not overly dramatic, either) but if I were your client, and the $400 was placed on my plate, I’d refuse to pay it. If you referred me to a collection agency for not paying that, I’d sue you or the airline, or both, because the contract I entered into permits me a refund when the schedule change is greater than 2 hours. ($400 is enough for me to go to small claims court.)

    For the sake of your professional image, eat the charge, and do it voluntarily and graciously. Any other option is likely to leave you in the same boat, but it will look a whole lot uglier, which is something you want to avoid at all costs.

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