United's mistake but I had to pay.

Archived From: Travel Discussion
  • Page :
  • 1
  • Text Only
Voting History
rated:
I booked tickets for myself and family (including a 3 month old baby) from Singapore to Chicago using my UNITED miles.

The total was 97,500 miles + $400 in taxes. All our names were in the system, and I have print outs with confirmation, a single confirmation number with all our information. On the print out, all our names are there including the baby, but no eticket number for baby, which I thought was normal since the baby will be traveling on the lap. (it even says infant on lap in the confirmation email from United)

Even though it was booked through United, we flew Singapore airlines to Amsterdam and then connecting was United to Chicago.

I will try to make this straight to the point:

1. When we arrived at airport, the airline (Singapore) said baby does not have an eticket #.
2. After 2.5 hours of investigating and calling United, United claims I added the baby at a later date therefore I did not pay the taxes + 10% fare for the baby.
3. I tell them I did no such thing but they would not listen and insist I pay USD$950 for the baby (10% of full fare + taxes). The truth is this booking was made in November 2012 for February 2, 2013 travel.
4. Because I had no choice, I quickly paid and Singapore Airlines who was sympathetic to us, actually held the plane for us. If I had missed this flight, I would have to pay for the entire family.

What should I do? My first call yesterday to United fell into deaf ears. They just dont get it. They said I must have added the baby later therefore the system did not calculate the baby's fare, which is NOT true. I am guessing it was a glitch in their system. The 10% fare and tax for the baby is MORE than a one way ticket from Singapore to Chicago (USD$880 the last time I checked). I told them why wouldnt I just buy a regular ticket for the baby at this price, and they said there is no possible way that fares from Singapore to Chicago can be $880. I told them I can show you proof and the CS lady said she didnt need proof and that she has been working for United for over 16 years and fares cannot be that low. I told her so fares are usually around USD$10,000? And she said yes, usually. I gave up and slammed the phone on her.

What should I do? Dispute this charge on my credit card? Just treat it as an unfortunate experience? Any help appreciated.

Member Summary

One Way Fare to Chicago
Thanks jigsaw1975
Disclaimer
Most Recent Posts
seems like that's correct. OP booked 3 adults plus a baby, so a group of 4 individuals.

tchen811 (Mar. 01, 2013 @ 6:08p) |

Yes, My family flew from Denmark to Alabama and as well had to buy a ticket for their child, even if they had her in the... (more)

deelarsen5 (Mar. 11, 2013 @ 11:34a) |

Yes, My family flew from Denmark to Alabama and as well had to buy a ticket for their child, even if they had her in the... (more)

deelarsen5 (Mar. 11, 2013 @ 11:35a) |

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

I would definitely file a compliant with FAA and dispute the charge. Last time I had an issue with United (regarding extra baggage charge), I sent several emails to their support email and spent at least 5 hours on their premier support line and it went no where. A month later I sent an email to FAA. Heard back from United a few weeks later and the baggage charge were refunded with a $500 travel certificate.

How I miss the days with Continental. But I have to say, the service is getting much better these few months compared to the days just after the merger.

Good luck =)

They charge more for a lap baby? We have never had to pay for a lap baby.

I think your key piece of evidence is that you have confirmation print outs that include the baby's name and say lap infant.

Write a detailed and courteous e-mail and find e-mail bomb addresses of higher ups at United.

If you don't get a response within 2 weeks, bomb it again and let them know you will be going to local media outlets as well as filing with the FAA, BBB etc, etc..

I did have to pay the 10% of original tix price plus tax for a lap baby when I travel internationally. They do require a ticket for lap baby for intl flights and once they are over 2, you pay child tix price for the seat (not full price seat like domestic flights). So I would say the charge is legit. The only thing is that if you were informed correctly when you were buying the tickets, then it would make sense to purchase an add. seat vs paying infant ticket price and get no seat since purchasing add. seat was a cheaper option and gets you more space.

After you use the "Contact United" email response system (which is very slow), then write to the Better Business Bureau. Usually United is really good about providing compensation, but on a recent trip I must have got an agent having a bad day. He offered us a pittance worthy of a delayed bag (5k miles each or about $40 each). After I sent the same letter through the better Business Bureau, I got a sincere apology, vouchers for $300 each, and told we could also keep the 5k miles already awarded.
If you are in the right, persistence pays off. You are unlikely to get a refund (too complicated), but you should be able to get vouchers to compensate for the error.

Document all correspondence, save every email, make multiple copies of that original printout, and here is a starting point of contacts for you (these were pulled from Untied.com which is a fabulous website that documents every grievance folks care to file against United!)

United's headquarters physical address is 77 West Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601, USA, but specific contacts for resolving your complaints (as publicly available from other websites) are as follows:
Ms. Anne Seeley
Managing Director, Customer Care and Refunds
P.O. Box 66100
Chicago, IL 60666
(832) 235-1802
anne.seeley@United.com
Scott O'Leary
Managing Director, Customer Solutions
P.O. Box 66100
Chicago, IL 60666
(847) 700-4000
scott.oleary@United.com
(note that we were previously listing other individuals as the Manager, Customer Relations and Vice President, Customer Contact Centers, but that information was apparently out of date)

For legal correspondence, you might want to contact:
Jessica Rossman
Senior Counsel, Americas
1600 Smith St., 15th Fl. HQSLG
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 324-5197
jessica.rossman@United.com
For travel issues outside of the U.S.:
Jeff Wittig
Senior Counsel, Asia and Pacific
United Air Lines, Inc.
1600 Smith St., 15th Fl. HQSLG
Houston, Texas 77002
713-324-9351 -- office phone
713-324-5161 -- fax
jeff.wittig@United.com
(note that we were previously listing a contact person to whom documentation in support of a claim should be submitted, but that individual might not be in a position to receive such material)

If you need to escalate to legal action in Quebec, United's agent is listed as:
Norton Rose Canada LLP
2500-1 Place Ville Marie
Montréal, Québec
H3B 1R1 Canada
Or if you want to experience the joy of being ignored, you can use United's "Customer Care" form or contact them at:
Customer Care
United Airlines, Inc.
900 Grand Plaza Drive NHCCR
Houston, TX 77067-4323
1-877-624-2660 (voice-mail only)

$800 is about 10% of a full-fare economy ticket.
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-mileageplus-consolidated/1...

https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/specialneeds/inf...
Infants under the age of two, traveling without a seat within the United States, do not require a ticket. All infants traveling internationally must have a ticket, even if no seat is purchased and they are traveling as a lap child.
No eticket# = no ticket, but were you over-charged in miles? 97.5K miles is 3x OW savers economy awards.

I flew from Chicago to Singapore with an infant also using miles on a separate reservation and it was fine. The cost for the baby was $200 which was inclusive of the 10% fare and taxes. They never charge miles for an infant (below 2 on lap).

you have to pay tax on lap babies, whoever said otherwise is wrong. Yes lap babies are free, but you MUST pay INTERNATIONAL taxes regardless. Even when I fly using my employee benefits with my family I have to pay taxes on everyone, even if we lap baby my baby.

My post is not in reply to OP but to the post saying they are free all the time.

I am posting as myself, not in relation to, or in ANY capacity to my employer. I also dont work for UAL.

I would start by calling United again. When you don't like the answer of a representative (of any company) hang up and try again. Half the time you'll get a better answer.

I hear you OP. I had a trip to Korea booked in August that I'd taken care of months before, booked with miles, traveling a few of the legs on partners. Oh, and they cancelled the return leg because of a partner schedule change and didn't think I might need to know about that. Silly me with just a confirmation e-mail and ticket#. Spent 2 hours on the phone, found a replacement, got half of the mileage credited back.

Be careful when you book with miles and use a partner is what I learned.

Just ask them contact details for senior person. They may give you physical address for redressal. I had to do this with Delta when they changed my ticket from eticket to paper ticket and send it to different address. They allowed us fly onward without paper ticket but while returning, agent at airport was not allowing us. He insisted us to report as lost ticket and he will reissue with fee and we can fly. Paid fees for reissue but at first try Delta was not ready for accepting thier error. Finally I asked for manager they gave me address for consumer redressal. I wrote letter two time and got refund credited back to my card.

Dispute the charge using AMEX. If you didn't pay with AMEX, go back in time and rebook using AMEX. Always use AMEX for stuff like this.

Don't send letters or call, this is useless. Do a chargeback on your credit card and they'll come to you.

rickt86 said:   I am posting as myself, not in relation to, or in ANY capacity to my employer. I also dont work for UAL.

Worried that your employer knows who Rickt86 is? Or will recognize the pic?

Sure, do a chargeback on SQ for the $800. I'm sure United will care a lot.
The $400 paid in taxes to UA are likely past the dispute time-frame.

Post your question on FT for meaningful advice.

DeGlass said:   Sure, do a chargeback on SQ for the $800. I'm sure United will care a lot.
The $400 paid in taxes to UA are likely past the dispute time-frame.

Post your question on FT for meaningful advice.


The money was charged over the phone to United.
Past dispute frame? It took place last week.

jigsaw1975 said:   DeGlass said:   Sure, do a chargeback on SQ for the $800. I'm sure United will care a lot.
The $400 paid in taxes to UA are likely past the dispute time-frame.

Post your question on FT for meaningful advice.


The money was charged over the phone to United.
Past dispute frame? It took place last week.

3. I tell them I did no such thing but they would not listen and insist I pay USD$950 for the baby (10% of full fare + taxes). The truth is this booking was made in November 2012 for February 2, 2013 travel.

Obviously the $950 can be charged back once it posts.
As I've pointed out earlier, 97.5K miles should have bought 3x OW Coach awards. I would have tried to get the 32.5K back if no third ticket was issued for the miles.

DeGlass said:   jigsaw1975 said:   DeGlass said:   Sure, do a chargeback on SQ for the $800. I'm sure United will care a lot.
The $400 paid in taxes to UA are likely past the dispute time-frame.

Post your question on FT for meaningful advice.


The money was charged over the phone to United.
Past dispute frame? It took place last week.

3. I tell them I did no such thing but they would not listen and insist I pay USD$950 for the baby (10% of full fare + taxes). The truth is this booking was made in November 2012 for February 2, 2013 travel.

Obviously the $950 can be charged back once it posts.
As I've pointed out earlier, 97.5K miles should have bought 3x OW Coach awards. I would have tried to get the 32.5K back if no third ticket was issued for the miles.


The 97.5K miles is for 3 adults, which was correct. They never charge miles for an infant on a lap. Only 10% + tax.
The $950 was paid last week.

First thing I would do is contact this guy

Send this to Chicago Tribune's "Whats Your Problem" if still not resolved.

Learn to sing. Seriously. This guy made a whole new career out of his incident with United.

United Breaks Guitars

I had a similar situation as the OP when I used my points to book travel from SF to Hong Kong and on to Beijing. The Beijing leg had to be separated for some reason and the record didn't show that the 10% was paid for my under 2 child so we were stuck at the airport having to pay that fee as well. This was on Cathay Pacific/Dragon Air. I never was able to recoup that money despite contacting people about it. The airline chalked it up to the person I worked with not knowing that an in-lap infant required ticket numbers in Asia.

OP, just to be clear, were there three adults and the baby? Or two adults and the baby? If three adults and the baby, then United was right, the miles charged were for three tickets, and the baby would be the usual 10% charge for a lap baby. If there were only two adults, then something's wrong, since they took the miles for three seats, in which case there shouldn't have been a charge for the baby, since it should have had its own seat.

cestmoi123 said:   OP, just to be clear, were there three adults and the baby? Or two adults and the baby? If three adults and the baby, then United was right, the miles charged were for three tickets, and the baby would be the usual 10% charge for a lap baby. If there were only two adults, then something's wrong, since they took the miles for three seats, in which case there shouldn't have been a charge for the baby, since it should have had its own seat.

seems like that's correct. OP booked 3 adults plus a baby, so a group of 4 individuals.

Yes, My family flew from Denmark to Alabama and as well had to buy a ticket for their child, even if they had her in their lap.

I'm in the middle of moving back to Denmark and looking into how to get my own child back and have a eticket, milages and want to use them all before paying cash. So if anyone can help me out let me know.... deelarsen5@gmail.com

Thank you and safe flying!

Yes, My family flew from Denmark to Alabama and as well had to buy a ticket for their child, even if they had her in their lap.

I'm in the middle of moving back to Denmark and looking into how to get my own child back and have a eticket, milages and want to use them all before paying cash. So if anyone can help me out let me know.... deelarsen5@gmail.com

Thank you and safe flying!



Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

TRUSTe online privacy certification

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2014