Why is airfare so high right now? United Airlines cancels couple's flight to Italy, charges $4K more for comparable plane tickets
Share this @internewscast.com


LAFAYETTE, Calif. — 7 On Your Side has been reporting on a big spike in airfares this travel season. Experts blame high fuel prices, a shortage of planes and pilots, and a surge in tourism. Prices on some routes have doubled since 2019.

Karen Ward and her husband Michael of Lafayette, California were very glad they booked their flight to Italy last year when prices were still low.

The only problem? Their flight just got canceled. And their low fare is gone.

The airline said that due to a shortage of aircrafts, the Wards’ flight to Italy was canceled. The couple had to call and rebook. But now? The flight they booked last year now cost $4,000 more.

“So, I mean I was pulling my hair out,” Karen said. “I was like, ‘I can’t believe…'”

SEE ALSO | Traveling this summer? Vacation packages, flights are more expensive; how to save money

After staying home the past two years, the Wards had decided to splurge on a trip to Italy.

“Our 40th wedding anniversary is this month and we decided to rent a villa in Tuscany for a month,” Karen Ward said.

Ward booked a flight last September on United Airlines in business class from San Francisco to Frankfurt to Florence, leaving next month. The fare was $7,600 for two tickets.

“We’ve never flown business before. So we splurged on business, because it’s our anniversary,” Ward said.

The Wards got their confirmation and booked the villa, but eight months later, received a shock.

“Saturday, I get this email saying, ‘Your flight’s been canceled,'” Ward said.

The notice said their aircraft was no longer available, and that they should call to re-book.

“I was on the phone with her for three and a half hours,” Ward explained.

An agent booked two more tickets at the same price — but later, Ward saw they were now seated in “economy” class.

She called back demanding her business class seats.

“And they said, ‘No, it’s not comparable,'” Ward said. “If I wanted the flight that I purchased eight months ago, I would have had to pay $4,000 more.”

Four thousand dollars more? For the same seats?

“That’s when I said, ‘No, no, I’m not paying a penny more,'” Ward continued. “‘You’ve had my money for eight months, I lived up to my side of the contract… you need to hold up your side of the contract and give me the same flight.'”

She contacted 7 On Your Side. As it turns out, if an airline cancels your flight, you are entitled to a cash refund. Experts say airlines try to avoid that by offering a good deal.

“Because you are entitled to a full cash refund, the airline typically would prefer that you keep your money with them and take an alternative option,” said Scott Keyes of Scott’s Cheap Flights. “You can actually request to be on an improved flight.”

Indeed, when Ward called United again, the airline agreed to give her those business class seats for the same price after all.

United told 7 On Your Side: “We work diligently to find customers a suitable alternative if their travel is impacted by a schedule change…”

United said it gives notice as far ahead as possible so customers can choose between a refund, rescheduling or credit for a future flight.

RELATED | Rebuffed by Spirit Airlines, JetBlue goes hostile in takeover bid

“My husband and I are thrilled and eternally grateful for your help,” Ward said.

Travel experts say airlines are dealing with a shortage of aircraft and pilots since travel slowed way down in the pandemic. Flight cancelations or changing routes may be more frequent than in the past.

Read United Airlines’ full statement below:
Advanced schedule changes are not unique to any one airline; they exist across all carriers for a variety of reasons, including aircraft availability, crew and vendor staffing and other market-related challenges.

At United, we work diligently to find customers a suitable alternative if their travel is impacted by a schedule change. We also try to input schedule changes as far in advance as possible, so that customers can make an informed decision on what might work best for them – accepting a refund, re-scheduling, or canceling for future flight credit free of change fees.

We have the following advice for any United customers whose travel plans are impacted by a schedule change:

We offer the option to self-serve via the United app or united.com in the event of schedule changes and we also provide customer contact center support available via phone, web chat, mobile app messaging, Facebook private message and Twitter direct message. We recommend reaching out to us so we can assist with re-booking or discussing alternative options.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

Have a question for Michael and the 7 On Your Side team? Fill out the form HERE!
7OYS’s consumer hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assist individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist on cases between businesses, or cases involving family law, criminal matters, landlord/tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please review our FAQ here. As a part of our process in assisting you, it is necessary that we contact the company / agency you are writing about. If you do not wish us to contact them, please let us know right away, as it will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.



Share this @internewscast.com
You May Also Like
Man dragged during attempted carjacking at parking garage in Streeterville

Man dragged during attempted carjacking at parking garage in Streeterville

CHICAGO (CBS)– A man was carjacked in a parked garage in Streeterville…
Two dead, 13 injured in shooting in Philadelphia, police say

Family of pregnant teen killed by undercover police is awarded $21M

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal jury awarded $21 million to the…
Biden Stumbles Over Remarks Abroad, Promises to Send Billions More of Our Money Overseas – RedState

Biden Stumbles Over Remarks Abroad, Promises to Send Billions More of Our Money Overseas – RedState

Joe Biden was in Spain on Tuesday for the NATO summit that…
City of Eutaw looking to improve water and sewer systems

City of Eutaw looking to improve water and sewer systems

EUTAW, Ala. (WIAT) — The city of Eutaw is looking to improve…
Man killed by working on his semi-truck in southeast Alabama

Man killed by working on his semi-truck in southeast Alabama

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — A Dothan man was working on a tractor-trailer…
Renewed calls for Medicaid expansion, fewer barriers to adoption in Alabama after Roe overturned

Renewed calls for Medicaid expansion, fewer barriers to adoption in Alabama after Roe overturned

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — With abortion banned in nearly all cases in…
Video: Lori Lightfoot Screams ‘F*** Clarence Thomas’ In Deranged Rant

Lori Lightfoot Screams ‘F*** Clarence Thomas’ In Deranged Rant

Last Updated on June 27, 2022 Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired up…
Chicago police investigating after apparent Wicker Park burglary at North Avenue electronics repair shop caught on video

Chicago police investigating after apparent Wicker Park burglary at North Avenue electronics repair shop caught on video

CHICAGO (WLS) — Surveillance video captured an apparent break-in early Tuesday morning…