As time permits I will be selecting questions from the Ask Rick Blog Post (in the comments section) and providing some advice. Be sure on all questions to include departure, destination, airline, time frame (as they apply).
I just discovered the Aloha flight I booked from Maui to Sacramento has a stop. We will be traveling with my daughter who will be 22 months at the time and I really need a non-stop. I contacted Alohas reservations and the would allow me to change the flight for a $125 fee plus any increase in the ticket cost. When I looked online the return flight available was actually about $5 less than what I originally paid, not the $86 increase they quoted me. Is there any way to get them to waive the $125 and get the lower priced airfare?
I wasn’t familiar with the non-stop from Maui (Kahului, Airport Code: OGG) to Sacramento (Airport Code: SMF), a quick check on Farecompare.com flight schedules shows the flight and the list of airfare prices on this route.
As background, airline change fees are governed by a rule on the airfare called — oddly enough — “Penalties” — and to some degree requirements in the Aloha contract of carriage and other applicable reservation fee policies (like charges for making a phone call to an airlines reservation agent).
Assuming you have purchased a non-refundable airfare (cheapest), the penalty rule on this particular Aloha airfare states:
CANCELLATIONS – Ticket is non-refundable.
CHANGES – Per one way charge USD 125.00.
NOTE – All penalties apply per fare breakpoint.
NOTE – Itineraries may be rebooked provided a passengers cancels the ticketed flight reservation prior to ticketed departure time. If not then rebooking is not permitted and ticket has no value. All travel must be completed within one year from the original ticket issue date.
NOTE – When changing to a higher fare or different origin/destination collect change fee plus additional fare collection.
In general Domestic U.S. change fees are $100 roundtrip — in this case Aloha Airlines change penalty is very “severe” ($250 roundtrip) (more like an International itinerary change fee).
It is unlikely that an Aloha reservation agent will be empowered to waive the change fee, I suggest you ask for a supervisor and plead your case (don’t expect much though).
I would also send a politely worded email and/or letter explaining the situation and requesting a waiver to Aloha customer relations.
Take a screen capture (Ctl-Alt-PrtScrn, paste it in MSPaint and save as JPEG) of the $5 less flight leg you found on the web and attach it to the note (explaining the phone quote was $86 higher and not $5 as shown).
In your case if the airfare is cheaper you will get the $5 credit (making the transaction $120 for the change).
The only other recourse that I have seen work in the past is when you have purchased your airline ticket through a travel agent that does a “lot” of business with Aloha Airlines. In this case it would not be unusual for the agency to ask for a waiver and get a favorable result.
Refunds Drop In Price
I will speaking more about Drop in Airline Ticket Price Refunds in a follow-up soon, in all cases these refunds (if there are any on a particular airline) are limited to price drops on the same flight. In this case it wouldn’t apply because you are changing a connecting flight in Santa Ana (John Wayne Airport) to a non-stop.