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United wants $300 to cancel one leg or forfeit connections??

New Mexico
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United wants $300 to cancel one leg or forfeit connections??

This doesn't sound right... I'm flying to Hanover, DE (ABQ-ORD-MUC-HAJ) for a week and back (HAJ-MUC-DEN-ABQ). It was assumed that we'd be in Hanover at the end of the business tour but will be in Stuttgart instead. It makes sense to me for our party of three to rent a car one-way from Stuttgart to MUC (a two-hour drive) instead of trying to get back to Hanover so I called to cancel the HAJ-MUC leg of the trip and was told by United Airlines that it would cost $300pp and that we would forfeit the remaining flights home if we simply missed the flight.

I've never had to do this before and what I was told makes no sense to me at all so I thought I'd reach out and get some input from the flying community. Here I was hoping I'd get a small credit for being a responsible passenger and canceling a flight leg more than a week out but was shocked to hear it would actually cost me $300!

26 replies to this topic
London
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1. Re: United wants $300 to cancel one leg or forfeit connections??

If you simply fail to show for the HAJ-MUC flight, the MUC-DEN and DEN-ABQ flights will be cancelled automatically and you will need to buy new tickets. I wager that will cost a lot more than €300pp.

The $300 is United's change fee, unless you have fully-flexible tickets it is perfectly usual for an airline to charge this.

Lancashire, United...
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2. Re: United wants $300 to cancel one leg or forfeit connections??

Of course it makes sense. Just because you're taking less flights doesn't mean the tickets cost less. Your ticket is repriced for the new route at today's prices, and is subject to a change fee as per the fare rules of your ticket. If you do simply no show all remaining flights on the ticket are automatically cancelled.

Cambridge, United...
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3. Re: United wants $300 to cancel one leg or forfeit connections??

No, it sounds right - you are altering the ticket to a different fare schedule that is more expensive and so its being repriced to that schedule.

Ticket pricing is convoluted and is not based simply upon distance travelled but many other factors such as empty seats on given legs, the overall pattern of travel and how that competes with other airlines, tickets already sold on routes and a host of other factors - all of which could be very different for a slightly altered route and so alter the price.

They assiduously charge the price changes to avoid people appearing to travel different routes and actually travelling portions gaming what is a dynamic pricing system (hidden city ticketing its called).

And yes, miss one section and they cancel the rest - the contract is to travel all legs in order - start and final destination are important in case they have to reroute you for any reason as they stops are changeable by them

Portland, Oregon
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4. Re: United wants $300 to cancel one leg or forfeit connections??

United is correct, and it's not just United; it would be the same on all mainline carriers. The $300 is the change fee, and there will also be a difference in fare to cover. And you must fly all sectors on the ticket in the order shown; as soon as you no-show your ticket is canceled. There's a top question on theright hand side of the main site that covers this (though it's more directed at those wanting to do "hidden city ticketing" - https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g41707-c2…

Consider taking the train from Stuttgart to Hannover. It's about 4-4.5 hours.

Phoenix, Arizona
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5. Re: United wants $300 to cancel one leg or forfeit connections??

For much of our business travel, we purchase the more expensive Fully-Flexible tickets, as plans are often fluid. We then only pay Fare Differentials (can go up, but can also come down). Those tickets offset the Change Fees, which, in our case, can add up quickly.

What you have encountered is not restricted to UA. It would be very similar on DL, or AA, and many international airlines.

Good luck, and fly safely,

Hunt

New Mexico
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6. Re: United wants $300 to cancel one leg or forfeit connections??

No. It doesn't make sense. Not in a fair and reasonable way. Not to me, it doesn't. It might make sense in the greedy business sort of way but I'm not programmed to think this way and not all businesses behave this way. They can most certainly re-book my cancelled leg more than a week out and still make more money off the seat than if I stuck with the original itinerary, which I will do.

I do apologize for missing the prominent link that answered my question (I only saw it on the right after I posted) and I thank you all for responding. Question answered but feel free to keep posting the same answers. Looks like a 5.5 hour drive back up to Hanover instead of two hours to Munich.

London
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7. Re: United wants $300 to cancel one leg or forfeit connections??

You seem to have missed that you entered into a contract with the airline. This was that the price was based on the sequence of legs chosen. 'Reselling' one of them is irrelevant.

If you can't be bothered to check what you're buying, so be it, but you can't really whine about it afterwards.

Bingley, United...
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8. Re: United wants $300 to cancel one leg or forfeit connections??

< No. It doesn't make sense. Not in a fair and reasonable way. >

Would you rather pay a lot more so you can change your plans without paying a fee? HAJ-MUC won't even be flown on UA metal so they are paying someone else to change your plans

Phoenix, Arizona
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9. Re: United wants $300 to cancel one leg or forfeit connections??

While I also do not find a great deal of sense in airline Change Fees, it is, as stated, part of the contract, that I enter into.

Thankfully we bought Fully-Flexible fares for an upcoming San Francisco - London - San Francisco.

We booked PHX-SFO, with X days there, then SFO-LHR, with Y days there, and return to SFO, with Z days there, before returning to PHX. The days in SF, on both ends, have changed 3x, and we only booked 5 mos ago. It would have cost us ~$900 each, just to alter the flights, to accommodate the changing number of days.

These Change Fees are part of airline travel, with but a few exceptions, such as WN/SWA.

In our case, we know that we will be flying in that year, so the even more expensive Fully-Refundable tickets are not needed. Flexibility is what we need usually.

As for any remaining segments, on a multi-leg booking being cancelled, if one skips a leg, is common in the industry, with the exception of Airlines, which are purely Point-to-Point, so sell one-way tickets.

Fly safely,

Hunt

Lancashire, United...
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10. Re: United wants $300 to cancel one leg or forfeit connections??

<<No. It doesn't make sense. Not in a fair and reasonable way. >>

So what you're saying is not only do you expect to be able to change a ticket and pay no fees, you want a refund for the sector you're not flying, even though it's a non refundable ticket? You think that's fair and reasonable?

Good luck with that, with any airline.

Of course you could always have paid a hell of a lot more for your ticket and then you could have done.

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