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Feature Article
Airlines Suck

August 1, 2003
By Scott Lewis

I understand the new heightened security since the 9/11 incident, but I find airlines are taking advantage of that for their own good. Basically airlines suck.

The Story

I was going to New York to visit my sister in the hospital. I ordered two tickets, one for myself and the other for my son. The tickets were non-refundable, which didn't bother me. I knew that I would be eating the cost if I didn't use them.

However, the circumstances of the trip made it impossible for my son to come with me. My sister is on a floor of the hospital that children are not allowed on. And, she is not allowed off that floor. Add to this that I can't leave my son with anyone while I was visiting my sister and it just became impossible to bring him with me.

The Airline

I bought the tickets online through Hotwire.com. The price was reasonable, though not great because I waited too long before ordering them. Regardless, I had two "electronic tickets" that I would take to the terminal to get boarding passes. The tickets were with Continental Airlines.

I called Continental to ask if I could take someone else since my son could not travel. They refused, and told me that they were non-transferable.

I have a friend of a friend that would have paid me a portion of the cost of the ticket to take the weekend trip to New York. No Go!

Why?

Let's see. I had one ticket, and I had to show my picture ID to get my boarding passes. My son is 8 and doesn't have an ID, but he would be able to get his ticket. Why couldn't I bring someone with me, with a valid picture ID to have his name put in place of my sons. Maybe I should have just stuck the friend in the dryer for a few hours to shrink him and pass him through as my son.

I understand there is a lot more security, but what is the difference between a minor that had no ID, and a person with me when we both have ID. For all the airline knows I kidnapped a kid and took him with me as my son. They can't prove a child is not my son at the ticket counter.

Overall I just didn't like the policy. I was not trying to get my $320 back, I just wanted to have a fair chance to use the ticket I paid for.

Conclusion

When I got on the plain the flight attendant asked my if I wanted to cancel the ticket. She told me I could write to the airline and they would probably allow me to use the money for the ticket toward a later flight.

We'll see.
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