PSA: Check Existing Airline Confirmations for Cancelled Flights a Few Days Before Travel

Whenever you buy an airline ticket, you probably enter your email address and pay with a credit card. You will then receive an email confirmation and see the flight purchase on your credit card. If the airline makes a schedule change, they *should* send you an email with the new schedule details or you might receive an email alert from Award Wallet. But what would you do if the airline cancelled your flight, never rebooked you on another flight, never told you your flight was cancelled, and never refunded you credit card? That was the situation I was in recently when I was flying Amaszonas from Salar de Uyuni , Bolivia(UYU) in southern Bolivia.

Image source: http://redlinesgroup.com/en

Let me back up a little bit…

Jim and I were able to check in for our Amaszonas flight from La Paz, Bolivia (LPB) to Salar de Uyuni (UYU), but we kept receiving an error message when we tried to check in for our Amaszonas flight from Salar de Uyuni (UYU) to Santa Cruz, Bolivia (VVI). We didn’t think it was a big deal, so we planned on checking in for our flight at the airport before we boarded. Luckily, as we were waiting for our Salar de Uyuni salt flat tour, we saw an Amaszonas ticket office and walked in. We told the rep that we couldn’t check in online and asked if she could help us check in. She looked at our ticket, typed on her computer and told us the bad news that our flight was cancelled several months ago. We bought our tickets 8-10 months ago, so it was very strange that we never received an email or refund to our credit card.

We asked her to put us on the last flight of the evening from Salar de Uynui (UYU) to Santa Cruz (VVI), but she told us that flight was completely sold out. After lots of pleading, she put us on the standby list and told us to go to the airport to check in and pick up our boarding passes. Unfortunately, the new flight was leaving about 2 hours earlier than the flight we booked, so we had to coordinate a private airport transfer from our tour company to the airport.

Long story short, we got to the airport early (we were actually the first 2 people to check in at the airport) and got our boarding passes without any problems. After a long wait in the airport, we boarded our 19 seat plane (8 rows of 2 seats with 3 seats in the back). We finally breathed a sigh of relief after we took off.

We could have prevented this whole crisis if we would have manually checked our airline reservation closer to the day of the flight.  Or we could have checked to see if the flight still existed. Unfortunately, neither of those thoughts crossed our mind until it was too late. In the future, I will set up Google Flight alerts for my flights (assuming Google Flights can track the flight) and manually check the flights and airline confirmations every month.

Has this ever happened to you? What did you do to resolve the problem? If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. Have a great day everyone!

P.S. Stay tuned for my second PSA of the day where I talk about sleeping in the Managua, Nicaragua (MGA) airport because I did not have a Yellow Fever Vaccine.  Stay tuned…

Here are all parts of my Central / South America trip:

8 thoughts on “PSA: Check Existing Airline Confirmations for Cancelled Flights a Few Days Before Travel

  1. mark

    Just had something similar happen to my wife and I. We had confirmed tickets for a Southwest flight yesterday, however, neither the app nor the website would let us check in, kept giving an error message. Called into customer service and were told the tickets had been suspended due to the gift card we used being disputed with the bank. Since I knew I had not disputed the gift card purchase, I escalated to a manager but unfortunately, they could not do anything further other than let us buy new tickets for 5 times the original price. They also offered up the customer relations line which I could call the next morning, 6 hours before the flight departure. Thankfully when I called the next morning, the customer relations team was able to honor the original price and let me purchase new tickets for the same flight. In the meantime, I have put a claim in with the reseller I bought the gift card from. When I asked Southwest why they did not notify me of the problem with the tickets, they assume the passenger knows that by disputing the purchase of the gift card any tickets purchased with it will be cancelled.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      What is up with airlines cancelling flights or cancelling tickets and not telling passengers? I’m glad you got it all figured out, but that is not the best way to start a vacation.

      Reply
  2. Danny

    Grant, did they force you to buy new tickets? Was the price significantly different than what you originally paid?
    Sounds like you had quite the ordeal. Glad it worked out.

    Are you going to post some pictures from your trip and some of the things you did and saw while you were there?

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      They did not charge us anything to get on the other Amaszonas flight.

      I wrote trip reports about La Paz, Salar de Uyuni, Guatemala City, and San Salvador. You can search my blog or go back through the last 2-3 pages to see those posts.

      Reply
  3. DOM

    American did something similar to me. I had booked VCE-PHL-DTW and the first leg was cancelled. VCE -PHL is seasonal and AA moved when the seasonal flight began service. I got an Award Wallet notice that the flight was changed. It was booked with points, and I had to call once to cancel the flight then call another number to get my points redeposited and taxes refunded.

    Reply
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