I recently was returning from a trip from Europe and missed a connection flight because I fell asleep in the terminal. I showed up to the gate about 10 minutes after it closed. This was my own fault but I want to see what the best approach is for recovering the $125 rebook fee United charged me to get on the next flight.

My entire trip was booked using miles on United and I was traveling on a partner airline within Europe. After missing the connection I called United and they were able to get me on the last flight from that airport that would allow me to return home (USA) that day. The agent said she needed my credit card for the $125 change fee. I would have wanted to discuss whether this could be waived but by the flight was boarding and I had to run to another terminal to catch it. If I tried to discuss the fee with her I certainly would have missed the flight and would have had to overnight in the connection destination.

What recourse do I have for trying to recoup this fee? Or what would be the best approach? United's policy is $125 to change a flight within 60 days off departure. However, needing to rebook the final segments of an itinerary due to missing a connection seems different than simply wanting to change a flight due for the convenience of changing one's final departure dates.

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    Forget it, you really have no case. You are lucky you didn't get a repriced ticket and have to pay more miles. – Augustine of Hippo Aug 19 '18 at 15:38
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    And that there was actually availability for award tickets and you didn't have to buy a full price ticket. – dunni Aug 19 '18 at 15:41
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    @Danny Why should the airline refund you? You missed the connection through your own fault, not the airline’s. Next time, set the alarm on your phone – Traveller Aug 19 '18 at 15:46
  • I am certainly grateful I did not have to buy a full price ticket and as I noted above I recognize it was my fault for missing the flight. I set the alarm on my phone but slept through it unfortunately. Given the availability of an open seat literally minutes before the flight departed putting me on that flight wouldn't have resulted in the airline not being able to sell the seat to someone else for a higher price. – Danny Aug 19 '18 at 15:53
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    @Danny By the same logic you argue above, if you show up for any flight just before it leaves and say "well you won't sell that seat, so you may as well give it to me for free". But they won't. – DJClayworth Aug 19 '18 at 19:49

You have no recourse whatsoever and you already got lucky that they only charged you $125. Typically change fee for an international ticket is about twice that for United (depending on your fare original class).

The only thing you can do is to "ask nicely". You may have a slight chance if you have high United status (Global Serives or maybe 1k) in which case it's in their discretion to waive fees. It's a long shot though: you missed the flight due to your own actions.

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