United did not let my infant daughter to fly

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I follow up deal discussions frequently but I admit I did not contribute here before. I have this problem and wondering if anyone here could lead me in the right direction for my next step. It is rather complicated but I am going to try and summarize without confusing anybody.

I used Orbitz to buy a flight ticket for me and for my 10 month-old daughter from Cleveland, Oh to Washington DC and final destination to Istanbul, Turkey. It is US Airways from Cle. to DC and Turkish Airlines from DC to Ist. When I bought the ticket I entered travel info. for both of us (daughter in lap - no extra seat). On the flight confirmation from Orbitz there was only one airline ticket number and it only listed my name. But I called both airlines and confirmed both me and my daughter. She was listed. I was informed by Turkish Airlines there is a 10% fee for my daughter which would be collected at the airport. Fine.

A few days before the flight I called Orbitz and told everything was fine. I called both airlines confirmed and arranged seat locations, baby meal and a baby basket for the Turkish Airlines flight. I even printed out the confirmation page from US Airways showing both me and my daughter as passengers.

Yesterday (departure date) I went to the Cleveland airport to US Airways desk. I was told it was a code share flight and to go to United desk since it was their flight. United Airlines found the reservation for both of us but there wasn't a ticket for my daughter. I explained that I had confirmed with both airlines and no one told me I needed a ticket for my daughter. But I was not their passenger (Technically I was Turkish and US Airways passenger)so they didn't care about my situation. They sent me back to US Airways. US Airways could see both reservations but again only my ticket. I went back and forth between United and US Airways and finally I asked what I needed to do so that my daughter could fly with me. I was told there was nothing they could do and my daughter could not fly. I asked if I needed to pay but that wasn't the problem. Needless to say I missed the flight and today I am still in Cle.

I did not know I needed a ticket for my infant daugther. When I bought the ticket I wasn't told by Orbitz or US or Turkish that I needed a ticket for her. When a person buys a flight ticket for himself and an infant, during checkout Orbitz request Traveler Information for both Adult and Infant. It also indicates Airline Ticket (1) $$$$ (Adult:1 Infant in lap:1). So one ticket for both adult and infant! I never thought I needed a seperate ticket. I also contacted both airlines they knew I was flying with an infant no one told me I needed an additional ticket! I was told by Turkish I would need to pay 10% but I was not informed I needed a ticket for her.

I found out today that Turkish does not ticket infants until it gets paid.(which can only be paid at the counter of the Turkish - it can't be paid by phone or internet!!). But there is no Turkish counter in Cle. so I couldn't pay for it in Cle (United did not accept payment). Therefore she didn't get a ticket. Since she didn't have a ticket United didn't fly her. It seems like Turkish was going to charge and give me her ticket in DC?

At this point each airline and Orbitz blaming each other. No one is trying to find another flight for us at a later date. My vacation is ruined. I want to pursue this and want to find what my options are. I appreciate anyones input. Thanks!

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That isn't exactly correct.  It's true on an international flight, but not domestic.  Lap children (at least on the airl... (more)

brazilia120 (Oct. 26, 2013 @ 8:46p) |

OP- Thanks for the very detailed follow-up. Its interesting to hear how they tried to defend this... I mean the costs of... (more)

AaG12 (Oct. 31, 2013 @ 12:49p) |

I included the Small Claims Court Filing fee in my expense list.  Over here it is $37 per application plus $7 per each d... (more)

netkicker2000 (Nov. 01, 2013 @ 6:16p) |


flyertalk or travel forum...

Also, blast twitter and facebook pages of Orbitz, US Airways and United.

Sorry to hear.
I would press Orbitz for a resolution. Next pursue credit card company.

See if any of your emails have it in writing that it was for you and a baby in lap. Had an opposite situation with an international flight on an international airline. Their website would only take lap babies (0-2), and you could not buy a seat for them online. Called the hotline to order directly, and after an hour, they were still insisting that it could not be done, and just take the baby on my lap. Ended up flying on a different airline.

Screaming, deficating babies should NOT be allowed on airlines or restaurants!

I thought this post sounded familiar: United's mistake but I had to pay.

sloppy1 said:   Screaming, deficating babies should NOT be allowed on airlines or restaurants!Threadcrapping, immature "adults" should not be allowed on the internet or in public places.

Thanks Mikul, I checked that post. It is relevant but I am not disputing paying 10%. I knew I was going to pay and I offered United to pay for it at the counter. United told me they couldn't take the money and I have to pay Turkish because only Turkish could release the ticket. Turkish only accept payment for infant fee at their counter (not via phone or internet. I confirmed this with Turkish again yesterday). There is no Turkish counter in Cleveland so I couldn't pay. This whole issue is technicality and each airline and Orbitz blaming each other. I am driving to DC this afternoon and I will fly direct to Istanbul. I had to pay missed plane fee and price difference (additional $425.00 and no they couldn't accept this fee over the phone or via internet either so I'll pay it at the counter with additional 10% for my daughter). Thank you and everyone else for their inputs. I will persue this issue when I get back and post on their facebook sites and flyer talk (thanks rsuaver). Orbitz started an investigation on the issue but I doubt they will acept any responsibility. But I have confirmation from them showing 1 airline ticket for 1 adult and 1 infant. And I have a confirmation page printed out from US Airways showing me and my daughter as passengers. Thanks again for everyone's input.

Also, I assume you paid with a credit card. Dispute the charges with them...

NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   sloppy1 said:   Screaming, deficating babies should NOT be allowed on airlines or restaurants!Threadcrapping, immature "adults" should not be allowed on the internet or in public places.what makes you think he's over the age of 12?

kdbrich said:   NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   sloppy1 said:   Screaming, deficating babies should NOT be allowed on airlines or restaurants!Threadcrapping, immature "adults" should not be allowed on the internet or in public places.what makes you think he's over the age of 12?
Unfortunately he is not 12 .. unless he joined fw at age of 1

I'm surprised they haven't instituted a child fee yet.

You should have to pay more for the inconvenience your kid(s) (which were your choice to produce) bring.

Talk about falling between the cracks! These are as wide as the grand canyon!!!

Everyone will try to pass blame, but they're all to blame! This is the type of situation in the past where a good travel agent could intervene, but today, that's history.

Sounds like a simple fix would have been to get you from clevland to dc and let you hash out the matter there. Hindsight is 20/20 and time/full information wasn't on your side. Paying whoever in clevland for a new ticket from clevland to dc should have been possible, and you would be disputing or suing to get your money back. Once in dc, hopefully you could have worked out the rest of the complications and be on your way.

A discount travel agent, 3 airlines, countless connections, communications, miscommunications, it's a wonder you got to where you needed. You're just luck you didn't meet up with security or visa issues (you're infant is on the no fly list; your passport will expire in 9 months and we just changed the policy from 6 months to 12 months last week).

Welcome to the new age of democratization of travel.

I don't know of any other businesses that treat you so poorly after you spend thousands of dollars.

You leanred a valuable lesson that all travelers need to know. No passenger is permitted on a plane without a ticket number, even a infant traveling on your lap. A reservation confirmation does not get you on the plane when not ticketed. The ticket is issued by the actual carrier operating the flight and not the code share partner and not the travel agency. The ticket assures that you have passed the no-fly list, paid your fare and can be issued a boarding pass. Also, any change to the itinerary, including flight number changes, requires a new ticket to be issued. Whenever I travel internationally, I make sure I have a ticket number issued for each carrier on a multi-line itinerary.

That said, I am surprised that no one at Orbitz or US Air noticed that your infant wasn't ticketed. At the airport, I am equally surprised they didn't offer to let you buy a ticket for DC. You should have spoken to a supervisor at United or US Air. Many times the counter personnel will not call over a supervisor unless one is demanded, even when that will solve the issue. You could have called United or US Air and asked for a supervisor. You could have purchased a ticket for yourself and infant in lap at another airline in CLE for DC, and then gotten a refund for that leg of the itinerary when you got back.

Now, it's all up to customer relations at the various airlines and Orbitz. Contact them with a simpler story -- no ticket issued for your infant in lap on local leg of international multi-line itinerary; wasn't told one was necessary; reconfirmed with all parties and was told you were all set...

Another lesson: Book directly on the airline's website. The price may be a bit less on travel sites, there may be a CashBack offer, but you will be in a much better negotiating position when dealing directly with the carrier - even if they end up putting you on a codeshare / partner flight.

We ended up driving to DC with my wife. I paid the missed flight fee and fee for my daughter and flew direct to Ist. martin628 and shank you both have a point it is better to purchase the ticket from the airline however I am not a rich person. I thought I saved money by buying from Orbitz. I talked to supervisors from both US and United the day of the departure. US Airways couldnīt help because it was United flight. United supervisor did not help because as he put it they were not making any money for flying me. Thank you all again for your comments.

netkicker2000 said:   We ended up driving to DC with my wife. I paid the missed flight fee and fee for my daughter and flew direct to Ist. martin628 and shank you both have a point it is better to purchase the ticket from the airline however I am not a rich person. I thought I saved money by buying from Orbitz. I talked to supervisors from both US and United the day of the departure. US Airways couldnīt help because it was United flight. United supervisor did not help because as he put it they were not making any money for flying me. Thank you all again for your comments.

Total BS!!! Sue both of them!!! Combined, they had a responsibility to fulfill their contract. They can blame each other, but really doesn't matter, either could have or should have resolved the issue.

netkicker2000 said:   We ended up driving to DC with my wife. I paid the missed flight fee and fee for my daughter and flew direct to Ist. martin628 and shank you both have a point it is better to purchase the ticket from the airline however I am not a rich person. I thought I saved money by buying from Orbitz. I talked to supervisors from both US and United the day of the departure. US Airways couldnīt help because it was United flight. United supervisor did not help because as he put it they were not making any money for flying me. Thank you all again for your comments.

Price of a ticket is typically the same via a TA than vs the airline directly. Use the TA to search, then book on the airline directly for the exact itinerary. The only difference if the TA has a bulk of ticket already secured.

macosx said:   netkicker2000 said:   We ended up driving to DC with my wife. I paid the missed flight fee and fee for my daughter and flew direct to Ist. martin628 and shank you both have a point it is better to purchase the ticket from the airline however I am not a rich person. I thought I saved money by buying from Orbitz. I talked to supervisors from both US and United the day of the departure. US Airways couldnīt help because it was United flight. United supervisor did not help because as he put it they were not making any money for flying me. Thank you all again for your comments.

Total BS!!! Sue both of them!!! Combined, they had a responsibility to fulfill their contract. They can blame each other, but really doesn't matter, either could have or should have resolved the issue.
You clearly have no understanding of contractual law.

IMO OP should first have the credit card company act as his advocate. He then needs to determine the other party to the contract.

It's easy to say "sue everybody" but it's not that simple.

US was wrong to deny you boarding in CLE, as you have later shown by paying TK directly @ IAD.

Not sure how much you can get back, but nobody's gonna cough up if you don't make enough noise.

Chargeback
>> US Airways web complaint
>> DOT for involuntary denied boarding damages
>> Small claims in OH

suzyjean said:   
It's easy to say "sue everybody" but it's not that simple.


It sure seems that way, here in the US, with all the darn class-action law suits (not to mention, personal (car/home) insurance law suits).

Write to Chris Elliott at www.Elliott.org

Chris is a travel ombudsmen and is pretty influential in the business. You seem to have done everything you should have to ensure both you and your daughter were on the flight.

DutchessPDX said:   Write to Chris Elliott at www.Elliott.org

Chris is a travel ombudsmen and is pretty influential in the business. You seem to have done everything you should have to ensure both you and your daughter were on the flight.


Good link. I see the latest article is about someone losing points from the AARP / Chase fiasco. Must be a fatwalleter.

Even as an airline employee, this is a tricky one...Blame could fall in any number of places.
If I was the airline however, I would probably quote their contract of carriage that you agreed to when you bought the ticket, which states that infants do not need a ticket on domestic itineraries, but require a ticket for all international travel, and thats its a passengers responsibility to know this contract.
With that being said, when you called and confirmed, a good agent would have asked if you had purchased an infant ticket if they didn't see one in your reservation. (they don't always see it in their reservations system, since they can be issued on old school paper tickets, not always etickets) Especially since this happens rather frequently.
I do know however, that if you bought the ticket from United (not sure about Orbitz) and listed the infant at the time of purchase it would have automatically calculated the infant fare and you would have paid for it with your ticket. I just tried on their website, and the infants ticket was included in the fare I was given, there was no way around it. Unfortunate if Orbitz doesn't do that.
Lastly, when you got to the airport, the airline should have given you the option to buy the infant ticket there, as long as you got there plenty early for your flight. At my airport, we can't issue them, but when it happens, we can call a ticketing number and they can issue the ticket and collect payment, usually in 15-20 minutes. Sorry to hear about all this though! Hope everything eventually worked out.

Thanks for the info. poker6045. I did know that I had to pay for the infant fee. Both Orbitz and Turkish told me about it. Turkish told me that fee to be collected at the airport. But on departure day United said they couldn't take my money because it was a Turkish ticket and there was no Turkish counter at Cleveland airport!

Anyway I ended up suing all airlines and Orbitz at small claims court. After I got back I contacted Customer Relations for each one of the airlines and Orbitz and they all pointed the finger on each other. I am going to have a judge sort this out. I will post any progress if anyone still follows...

netkicker2000 said:   Thanks for the info. poker6045. I did know that I had to pay for the infant fee. Both Orbitz and Turkish told me about it. Turkish told me that fee to be collected at the airport. But on departure day United said they couldn't take my money because it was a Turkish ticket and there was no Turkish counter at Cleveland airport!

Anyway I ended up suing all airlines and Orbitz at small claims court. After I got back I contacted Customer Relations for each one of the airlines and Orbitz and they all pointed the finger on each other. I am going to have a judge sort this out. I will post any progress if anyone still follows...

  Any updates on this? 

I filed with the Cleveland Small Claims Court. Original court date was set for Sept. 3rd. However I had to file an addendum because my filing was rejected by one of the defendants counsel due to business name on the form did not match the business name on the Ohio Secretary of State website (there wasn't enough space on the form so I typed Orbitz.com). New court date is scheduled for Sept. 20th. However one of the defendants will not be able to make it due to prior arrangements and filed a motion with the court to postpone the hearing until October 17th. I will find out if the court accepted the request and postponed or not tomorrow on Sept. 18th. I'll keep you posted.

thank you for the update

OP, this article was posted yesterday.
Seems there's a growing community that is having an issue with United and ticketing lap children on international itineraries.

http://upgrd.com/matthew/why-united-airlines-must-honor-its-erro...
it points me to this flyertalk thread http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-mileageplus-consolidated/1...
which already has 11 pages of responses since last Friday.

Court date is postponed to Friday October 18th.

Thank you for the link imbatman. On that post some argue that it was OP's responsibility to knew everyone including an infant in lap needed a ticket (ignorance of the law is not an excuse). I didn't know either! But I did inform both airlines and Orbitz about my daughter flying in-lap with me. However none of those companies informed me she would need a separate ticket. So I don't think my actions would be considered as ignorance.

My situation was a little different anyway. I was informed about the 10% child fee up front (eventually when I flew my infant fee was close to 20% though. I don't know how it is calculated) and I was told the fee would be collected at the airport. But United did not take my money at the day of the departure. I was told we weren't United passengers therefore they couldn't take my money and issue an infant ticket tied to my adult ticket.

Hearing was held Friday Oct. 18th. It was in Cleveland Municipal Court in a small court room. There were two other cases to be heard as well. Before the judge came in a spoke person asked if anybody wanted to try to settle their cases through mitigation. If mitigated case would be settled right there and there instead of a usual 6-8 week decision time. One party agreed and left. So other than my case there was just one left.

Then the Judge came in. She was a middle aged woman. She decided the hear the other case first becasue the defendant did not show up and it seemed an easier case. After that one is settled it was me against one lawyer for Orbitz and three agents one for each airline US, United and Turkish.

I went ahead first and explained my side of the story. After I finished before the defendants started to explain their side of the story judge asked if defendentants wanted to settle this case. Each one responded negative. (I sued the defendants for the cost of change fee for Turkis Airlines, cost of United Airline's return trip fee from DC to Clevaland, cost of driving down to DC (.55/mile), toll fees (all with receipt), two days vacation time for me and one day vacation time for my wife and small claims court filing fee). Silly me I got all back up paperwork and receipts but unfortunately I forgot to bring a pay stub for me and for my wife showing our hourly rates. When judge told me why the defendants should be responsible for vacation times I explained her this was not due to a weather related delay or an uncontrollable situation but instead it was a deliberate act by the defendants and none of the airlines or Orbitz tried anything to correct the situation. Then judge explained even that's the case since I did not provide back up paperwork (paystub) she wouldn't award me the cost of the vacation time.

Then she started listening each defendant. US airways agent went first. She was an older lady and came all the way from Phoenix. She said that I was not a US Airways passenger and they had no involvement with the case (that was something new because at the airport United told me I was a US Airways passenger bot not United's!)She presented the itinerary of my trip but judge realized it was not the same as the one I provided. She was a very detail oriented judge and asked a lot of questions during my testimony and the defendants testimony. She realized the departure date from DC was 4 days after the actual itinerary. I do not know why US airways would do such a thing and what they would gain by it but regardless they presented a falsified document. I also reminded the judge that I had a confirmation from US Airways and how could they confirm somebody if he is not a passenger?

Then it was Orbitz. He was a young black man and I believe he was from a legal firm from Cleveland. He argued the same story. Orbitz had no involvement with the case. He actually said Orbitz is not a travel agency! (Legally business name for Orbitz is Orbitz Travel Insurance Company. They sell insurance not airline tickets or hotel reservations! Orbitz only provide information of available airlines and hotels for users to pick) He actually said what Orbitz does as "Garbage in, Garbage out" That's how Orbitz see their customers, Garbage! Anyway he argued there should have an airline number for each passenger. In this case one for me and one for my infant daughter. At this point I asked the judge if I could respond to his claim. I presented a print out of a screen shot for the same trip but on a different date from Orbitz website (I didn't have the print out of the screen shot for my actual trip so I tried the exact same trip with same airlines on a different date). The screen shot from Orbitz websited showed 1 Airline Ticket (1 adult & 1 infant). I gave it to the judge and she asked Orbitz lawyer about it. He said a lot of things but didn't answer why the screeenshot from Orbitz website showed 1 ticket for two passengers even though he just testified there should be one for each.

Then it was the agent from United. She was an older lady and she came from out of town but I am not really sure where she came from. She argued that I should have gone to United website and read the regulations regarding flying with an infant. I argued that I did not know that I was flying with United. She argued that on the itinerary from Orbitz under the US Airways flight it says flight is operated by ExpresJet Airlines dba United Express. I argued that how would I know if United Express and United Airlines were the same. I also explained on the itinerary there were two record locaters. US Airways record locator and Turkish Airlines record locator. There was no record locator for United. How would I know it was an United Airline flight. I also added when I contacted US Airways to confirm my flight and seat arrangements no one informed me it was actually a United flight.

Then it was Turkish. He was a middle aged guy drove from Chicago that morning. He argued the same thing as it was something everyone would know that even an infant should have a separate airline ticket. I explained this was my first child and never flew with an infant before. But I added that I called both US and Turkish and even though each informed me about the 10% infant fee no one told me there would be a seperate ticket.

Judge said she listedned to us all and saw an arguement here and asked us to think a settlement. She left the room for a couple minutes and gave time for the defendants to think about it. After she came back she asked each defendant if they want to settle. To my suprise United offered a voucher worth of $500. Out of all the parties they are the least responsible party becasue I never contacted them and told them I was flying with an infant. They probably knew because she was in their system as a reservation without a ticket but I did not get a confirmation from them. Again I had no idea I was flying with United. I contacted all other parties and let them know I was flying with my infant daughter more than once. ANyway no one else wanted to settle and I said no thank you to United's offer.

That was it. Judge informed everyone that she would study the case and make a ruling within 6-8 weeks. She reminded that the case can still be settled before her ruling. I'll keep you posted...

After the hearing I called the court and asked if I could provide additional documents (pay stubss) but I was denied.

WOW.

Thanks for the update. That paragraph about Orbitz will definitely steer me away from them in the future - an insurance company - the gall. Ultimately, you bought the ticket through Orbitz, and they should be responsible to set up your itinerary.

On a side note, their facebook page says they are a travel agency:
https://www.facebook.com/Orbitz
See if you can submit this to the judge as something to contradict something not expected during trial.

Good Luck.

That isn't exactly correct.  It's true on an international flight, but not domestic.  Lap children (at least on the airline I've worked for these past 15 years) are not required to be ticketed, since they do not take up a seat.  Federal regs require the name of the child be entered into the adult passengers' record, but no ticket is needed.

OP- Thanks for the very detailed follow-up. Its interesting to hear how they tried to defend this... I mean the costs of all those lawyers is probably way more than the refund you're looking for.

Few questions-
Did you sue for court and admin fees?
Can you still submit your paystubs to the judge and get try to get those costs reimbursed?

I included the Small Claims Court Filing fee in my expense list.  Over here it is $37 per application plus $7 per each defendant so it was $58.00 for my case. I called the court after the hearing and asked if I might be allowed to submit any additional support documents (pay stubs).  Person I spoke to consulted to the judge and she ruled against it.



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