One Airline Accused of Gouging Prices

By: Paul Aker
By: Paul Aker

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What happens when you buy your airplane tickets online and the flight gets cancelled? A Wichita woman says it can cause expensive problems.

Continental airlines cancelled a flight on the Thursday before spring break began. But just how much did the airline charge to get the next available flight?

New York was the destination for Carina Leonard, WSU student, during spring break. She even bought tickets to a Knicks game.

But Leonard's excitement crashed when she got to the Wichita airport.

Her Continental airline flight was delayed, then cancelled because of weather. But worse was what happened to her $180 tickets she bought on line -- they were cancelled too. Leonard says she was told by Continental the next flight available was 6 days away, and for a lot more money. Leonard says it was 849 more dollars.

KAKE On Your Side contacted Continental Airlines by phone last week. A reservation specialist confirmed the airline attempted to charge Leonard an additional $849. The employee said it's Continental's policy to charge the next going rate when flights are cancelled for reasons that are not mechanical -- including weather cancellations.

Assistant Fraud Prosecutor Joe Kisner says there's not much his office can do in a situation like this, but he says people still need to complain.

We spoke to a spokesman with Continental Monday afternoon. He says the reservation specialist was incorrect. The spokesman says Continental's policy is generally to reschedule on the next available flight without an extra-charge. The airline says it is refunding Leonard's original $180 purchase price.

Here are some KAKE On Your Side tips to make sure you avoid similar travel troubles:

Ask the online ticket agent if it guarantees replacement tickets at the same cost in the event of cancellations.

Ask if the airline treats weather cancellations different than mechanical or other types of cancellations.

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