19

Story

A friend once missed an international flight (USA => MidEast) because he mistook the flight number for the flight time on his itinerary. His flight number was something like "430", and his flight time was something like "1230". He arrived at the airport just as the plane was taking off.

He called the local travel agent from whom he'd purchased the flight, and the agent invited him over to the office to "try something he [the agent] hadn't tried in a while".

The agent printed paper tickets, and the agent placed a round yellow sticker on each ticket explaining that this should get my friend seats on the next day's set of identical flights.

My friend returned to the airport the next day at the correct time and boarded his flights all the way to his final destination without any problems.

  • I don't know if the printed tickets were for the same day or for the next day.
  • My friend did not pay anything for the additional tickets.
  • The original ticket was (to my knowledge) basic economy fare.

Questions

  1. What did my friend's travel agent do? Did the travel agent secretly buy my friend (a repeat customer) a new set of tickets, or did he pull some trick?
  2. Is the "sticker trick" still possible?
  3. Is the trick a property of wiggle-room afforded by paper tickets?
21

Can travel agents “reissue” tickets?

Yes, they can get them reissued. Even the customers can.

That agent didn't trick the airline, he/she tricked your friend into believing this was something special when your friend had already paid a higher price for the initial ticket. Your friend had a ticket which had no penalty for a change in date even after missing the first flight.

The agent used that leverage and rebooked your friend on the next date.

It is also possible that the agent used good his good rapport / free credits with the airline to help your friend but certainly it wasn't any trick like he claimed. It was more of a tactic to keep a regular customer happy.

Good service on his part!

  • Is there any other way this could have happened? I forgot to mention this was (to my knowledge) a bare-bones economy class ticket. Otherwise I guess the airlines were more generous back then with their standard fares! – techSultan May 14 '18 at 6:06
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    "Good service on his part!" - Yes, I've since used this travel agent myself :) – techSultan May 14 '18 at 6:18
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    Yep! Although I’m glad that you accepted my answer but I think you should wait for some answers from people with more knowledge. Who knows what it turns out to be! – Hanky Panky May 14 '18 at 6:21
5

The trick here most probably lies in the definition of basic economy fare, which changes from airline to airline. Some airlines simply don't sell non-refundable or non-exchangeable tickets, so even basic fare tickets can be re-booked to another date (though usually with a fee).

Of course, travel agents often have more options when it comes to re-booking than end-customers. That may include foregoing re-booking fees in some circumstances, or getting some tickets at preferential rates. So, if your friend is a good customer of the travel agency, he could get his ticket re-booked for free even whet it was normally non-exchangeable or exchangeable with a fee.

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