23 Responses

  1. Rohit Rao
    Rohit Rao 10 May 2012 at 10:30 am |

    If enough people complain to the DOT, the airlines will have to back off. Getting the word out is definitely important.

  2. Noah Kimmel
    Noah Kimmel 10 May 2012 at 11:05 am |

    I would be curious if cancelling a ticket is interpreted as “raising fare”. The customer is not really getting a fare raised, as he/she is getting a full refund.

    Is it any different than when Best Buy did something similar a year or two ago around Christmas time with laptops and televisions?

    While the cost to fly likely goes up, it also sets a bad precedent for airlines to be able to cancel flights that aren’t profitable at time of departure. However, many of these are mistakes, especially when converting currency. Additionally, most are published fares, but not advertised with the intent of deception, and are removed relatively quickly.

    The DOT guarantees fliers the right to cancel their flight within 24 hours of purchase, perhaps airlines should get the same option?

    Airlines are always under more scrutiny than other retailers. But in this case, I think that the DOT could issue reasonable requirements for fares sold in USA in USD ($) to protect consumers’ purchases.

  3. Is it Satan?
    Is it Satan? 10 May 2012 at 11:32 am |

    Tickets were not available just last week, but for almost a month. People had already flown on the tickets.

    And not hundreds, but thousands of tickets.

  4. Ann
    Ann 10 May 2012 at 11:32 am |

    I’m not so sure that DOT’s talk about canceling the ticket is really saying they can’t cancel the ticket. It might’ve been to guard against counteroffers. You bought the vacation for X, and we have a provision that says we can cancel for any reason, and now the price is X + $50, take it or leave it. And then they’ve got the consumer who’s excited about this trip and maybe made non-refundable plans saying, okay, I’ll pay X + $50. In that instance, arguably the travel agent and the consumer mutually “agreed” to cancel the ticket and have the consumer pay X + 50, creating a new agreement, so that this possibly would’ve been a legal defense but for the DOT guidance.

    Also, just as a semantics thing-the DOT isn’t ruling on anything. They wrote the regulation, and then they gave guidance on the regulation, and presumbly KE has asked for further interpretation to find out exactly what the DOT’s interpretation of the rule is and whether DOT would consider the straight cancellation a violation of the regulation. But all DOT will be doing is interpreting the regulation, unless possibly there is a fine involved.

  5. Mike
    Mike 10 May 2012 at 11:32 am |

    Funny how if airlines makes mistakes we want them to honor their side. When its someone sick or dying that bought nonregundable tickets, we want it to be refunded. Shame on you ppl that are hypocrites.

  6. HikerT
    HikerT 10 May 2012 at 11:52 am |

    Red herring as far as non-refundable tickets – most folks outed that BS for what it was. What I’d love to see is a requirement for reciprocity of all fees.

  7. Lack
    Lack 10 May 2012 at 1:39 pm |

    There’s supposedly a IATA notice informing the airlines about the kyat devaluation. Some did adjust the fares accordingly and there aren’t any trouble making tickets issued on LH stock for example. Those who were lazy and didn’t supervise their business, are trying to shift the blame now.

  8. Adam S
    Adam S 10 May 2012 at 4:30 pm |

    Seems like a bad test case to push to the DoT. First, given US OFAC sanctions still apply to Myanmar there is reputational/political risk to the DoT in ruling on this case, even if (as I believe to be the case) the facts don’t involve any contrvention of US sanctions. Second, the need to position these flights out of Rangoon contrary to the residence of the traveler makes it likely that the DoT will conclude that the people who bought these tickets were doing so solely because they believed this is a mistake fare, which may weaken their inclination to commit serious resources to the case.

    A rerun of something like the BA case would make a much better test case.

  9. RakSiam
    RakSiam 10 May 2012 at 4:47 pm |

    I don’t see how any of that really has anything to do with anything. The bottom line is the airlines offered to sell tickets at a certain fare. Customers bought what they were offering. Now they want to be allowed to unilaterally cancel the tickets with no penalty. If I want to cancel my ticket I am not allowed to do so without a penalty. The airlines want to be allowed to run roughshod over their customers at every turn if it doesn’t suit them. As noted there was apparently a notice that the Myanmar government was finally going to officially set the value of the kyat equal to what it has been in the real world for a long time. The fact that the airlines were not diligent in correcting their prices is their problem.

  10. Adam S
    Adam S 10 May 2012 at 11:20 pm |

    @RakSiam,

    In theory, it has nothing to do with anything. In practice, it may well affect the likelihood of the DoT intervening, especially given they have far fewer resources than they need to address everything they should. Not saying it is right, but it may well be the way it plays out.

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