Airiness today charge for almost anything: from baggage to pillows and blankets. According the U.S. Department of Transportation the airlines in the United Sates for the year of 2015 charged passengers $3 billion in cancellation and change of flight fees as well as close to $4 billion for baggage fees. So airlines are making tons of money on almost anything they can.
However, how would you feel if an airline ask you to pay several hundred dollars for simply missing your flight? It sounds pretty outrageous, isn't it?
The NBC Bay Area, a local TV channel from the Silicon Valley in California, recently reported that a traveling couple contacted them for help to recover $1200 that Emirates Airlines charged them for missing a flight.
They were on a trip from India to San Francisco, California. Their flight started on Air India to Dubai where they had to transfer to an Emirates flight onto Europe and then the U.S. But Air India flight landed late so they missed their Emirates connecting flight. They asked the Emirates to book them for the next available flight, however, they were asked to pay a penalty of $600 for each person before their rebooking can be done. They had no idea that when they originally bought their flight they agreed to this penalty fee written in between the lines with a very fine print. With no other option they payed the $1200 plus one way return ticket which in the end it turned out to be even more expensive then what they originally paid for their round trip ticket.
According to the NBC Bay Area, when the Emirates were asked for comment and possible forgiveness of the fee the airline returned a blunt response. In a statement it insisted that the passengers agreed to the fee at the time they purchased the ticket. What a rip off, since missing the flight was beyond the control of these passengers.
What arranges the customer-airline rights and obligations for the Emirates Airlines is the CONDITIONS OF CARRIAGE FOR PASSENGERS AND BAGGAGE contract. This document is exactly 40 pages long. And that's not all. Take for example Delta Airlines as their contract is almost 70 pages while the American Airlines is well over 100 pages.
Why do passengers have to be forced to read long policies saturated with airline lingo and law terminology, and texts that can be vastly ambiguous in order to understand their relationship with the airlines they fly?
Travel lawyers advise that airlines have to do a better job of spelling out policies and other relevant information such as applicable fees in a way that are not hidden in the fine print.
Not being late for your connecting flight and possibly to avoid fees related to changing or missing a flight due to circumstances beyond your control, we recommend:
- Watch out for the layover times when buying a flight ticket.. Anything that is less then 1 ½ hours may be risky.
- Go the the airport website and look for the airport maps. Try to find out how much time you need to transfer form your arrival gate to the departing gate. Better yet, call the airport directly.
- If you know that you're going to be late for your connecting flight try to contact the other airline as soon as possible not only to alert for your tardiness but also to come to terms and resolutions for rebooking, if it becomes necessary.
- The most important rule of thumb when you travel on those long-haul flights: try to book your flight with only one airline to your final destination. It will ensure that even if you missed a flight, the airline woudl have to make arrangements to take you to your final destination within its own network of flights. If you’re late because the in-bound flight arrived late, the airline can’t give you any excuse for not making arrangements to take to your final destination at no extra charge
Rread our othertravel blog articles which also provide valuable information that might help you next time you travel.