I booked a flight from Dayton, Ohio, to Shanghai, China, through US Airways. Things went terribly wrong with my ticket.
In all my years of writing this column, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a code-sharing nightmare like yours.
Airline code-sharing — which is what you experienced when you booked a US Airways ticket but ended up flying on United and Air Canada — is a common practice with questionable benefits to passengers. Basically, it allows a carrier such as US Airways to sell flights on another airline while claiming them as its own.
US Airways sold you a flight from Dayton to Shanghai, even though it doesn’t fly between Dayton and Shanghai. (Some might call that dishonest; that’s a discussion for another day.) If it isn’t going to operate the flight, it should at least take responsibility when something goes wrong with that ticket.
I don’t know what the $16.79 check was for, but I would have been offended by it, too. I’d expect a $2,450 credit to appear on my card as soon as I returned home. As I review the correspondence between you, United, Air Canada and US Airways, I find a round of finger-pointing, stalling and otherwise irresponsible corporate behavior. It seems no one wanted to help you.
I’d like to think that a brief, polite appeal to someone higher up at US Airways would have done the trick, but I’m not at all convinced. One look at the complex problem you had is enough to make anyone’s head spin. Who is really responsible for this ticket, and who should issue the refund?
In the end, I contacted US Airways and it took weeks of back-and-forth between the airline and Air Canada to figure out what went wrong.
But eventually, they did. You’ve received a refund from Air Canada — and an apology from US Airways.