Mary Bradley says she was billed hundreds of dollars extra for a United Airlines Travel Bundle on a self-booked ticket. She doesn’t know what these fees are, but she wants a refund. Can our advocacy team help?
I purchased two round-trip United Airlines tickets from Philadelphia to San Francisco, but then I found eight extra charges on my credit card. When I called United to ask what the extra charges were for, they said something about a promotion Travel Bundle. I told the representative I never agreed to buy a promotion bundle and wanted a refund.
I don’t even know what a promotion bundle is. But I don’t want it. I just wanted my seat assignments. I went online and asked for a refund, but United Airlines ignored my request. Can you help me get a refund from United Airlines for these extra charges for this mysterious Travel Bundle? Mary Bradley, Wayne, Pa.
These days, the add-ons that airlines offer customers can be really confusing — even to the most seasoned traveler.
Before hitting that final confirmation button, there can be a dizzying array of choices to make: Do you want a seat assignment? Would you like to pre-pay baggage fees? How about priority boarding? An upgrade? What about purchasing bonus mileage? And would you care for a sandwich or a cocktail?
During your self-booking process, all of these options, and more may be presented to you on various screens.
Extra charges on your United Airlines confirmation
The variety of supplementary options for air travelers is increasing by the day. It’s clear that the airlines are constantly searching for additional revenue sources.
And the complaints that we receive suggest that airline passengers are a bit confused. Accidental online purchases of unwanted amenities are common.
When you purchased your tickets, though, you were clear that you only wanted an assigned seat for you and your husband. United Airlines should not have charged extra for anything you did not intentionally purchase.
So, what was that extra $250 on your bill?
The options for the United Airlines Travel Bundle
Because you were selecting two seats on a round-trip itinerary, there should have been four charges. You sent me a screenshot of your credit card that showed that you were charged for the seats that you selected. But also for something called the United Airlines Travel Bundle — four more times. These charges added $250 to your trip.
So what is this bundle?
There isn’t a simple answer to that question. When I went to the United website and searched for the Travel Bundle, I was taken to a page with many add-ons that may be part of your bundle — including, among other things, amenities such as premium seats, wifi, snacks and extra luggage.
The United Airlines FAQs explain that “Travel Options Bundles” are customized based on your trip and could include any combination of products.
So what products did your bundle include? It was a mystery to you. The four charges on your credit card only noted “United Airlines Travel Bundle.” The representative that you spoke to wasn’t quite sure either.
Looking further into the explanation of this bundle, it appears that the options are shown to you at some point before you click the final confirmation button and purchase your ticket.
But you didn’t recall seeing any screen offering multiple United Airlines products. And you told me that you’re certain that you did not agree to the extra charges.
United Airlines is refunding the Travel Bundle
I contacted United Airlines on your behalf to find out why the airline had charged you for the seat assignments and the “bundle.”
Although United Airlines did not explain the confusion, its team quickly removed the extra charges. You received a refund confirmation from United Airlines for all the charges associated with the Travel Bundle. Now, only the seat assignment charges remain.
Enjoy your trip!
How to avoid getting hit with extra charges on your airline booking
Unfortunately, we see many self-booking mishaps here at Consumer Rescue. Travelers can easily avoid most booking problems by following a few simple tips.
- Review all the itemized charges: Before you click on that confirm button, you’ll see a list of itemized charges. It’s very important not to gloss over that information. Review each charge carefully. That’s when you can still remove any unwanted products added in error.
- Scrutinize the confirmation — within 24 hours: Remember that the first 24 hours after your airline ticket purchase is the time to catch any mistakes (including ticket vs passport mismatches). If you notice any issues with your reservation, you can cancel without penalty and start over from scratch. Immediately looking over that confirmation when it arrives in your inbox can save you hours of frustration trying to correct the problem later. (Note: Unfortunately, that 24-hour grace period does not apply to tickets purchased via a third-party agent. The Department of Transportation only requires airlines to provide that flexibility.)
- Consider a travel advisor: Most booking fiascos can be entirely avoided. If you aren’t computer savvy or are a travel novice, you might consider asking for the guidance of a travel advisor. The American Society of Travel Advisors can help you find a qualified professional. (Michelle Couch-Friedman, Consumer Rescue)