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While booking a flight and paying for it, I had connection issues. When checking in in person, I was asked for my booking number because they expected two passengers with my name on that flight. Only then did I notice that I had accidentally booked the same flight twice (same name, same email address, same credit card details). In hindsight that explained why they sent me all the emails twice – I suspected some mess up on their site.

Can I reasonably request a refund from the airline on the grounds that that should not be possible?

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    Did you input your details twice? There’s clearly nothing to stop you asking for a refund, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for a positive outcome a) you didn’t check the emails and b) the airline might not have been able to resell the seat as the situation only came to light at checkin. Your credit card company may well agree to investigate the apparent double-charge but the airline’s systems might show you did (albeit accidentally) book twice. Be prepared to explain to the card company how come you didn’t notice the error.
    – Traveller
    Jul 13, 2022 at 16:52
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    You can sometimes get the tax refunded on an unused ticket even if you can't get the ticket money back. It's worth investigating the airline's conditions.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 13, 2022 at 21:16
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    I knew someone with the opposite problem. He had a pass for unlimited flights over a short period of time, and booked A-B (less than an hour flight), B-A, A-B, B-A over and over again on the same day to get status miles. The airline's software said "well clearly no-one would want to go A-B at 9am and also at 11 am, this must be a mistake" and cancelled his bookings. So some airlines would have prevented your problem but you can imagine that might have upset people who actually had the same name (parent and child eg) and wanted to fly together. Jul 14, 2022 at 1:01

2 Answers 2

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Can I reasonably request a refund from the airline on the grounds that that should not be possible?

Maybe, but that depends on the airline.

Most airlines booking engines will not allow you to book the same ticket twice. It's explicitly not allowed in their terms and condition. On some airlines you CAN buy an extra seat (for extra space) for yourself but that needs to be booked through a different process.

they expected two passengers with my name

That sounds like a lame excuse. Same name for two different passengers can happen, but same name and same address, credit card, or airline account being different persons does not. So maybe they screwed up here themselves which may make the more inclined to negotiate.

I recommend checking the airlines terms and conditions on double booking. You probably can find some wording in there that can help with your negotiation. "your terms and conditions explicitly disallow double bookings, why did you accept mine?"

At the end though, you are at their mercy: you bought two tickets and the airline sold you two tickets. It's not their fault that you only wanted one.

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    Given some cultures naming practices having the same name at the same address could be common enough that automatically cancelling one booking would be the wrong thing to do. theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jul/13/… Even more so, given that the address likely only applies to the email & credit card, and people certainly do buy tickets for family members.
    – origimbo
    Jul 14, 2022 at 15:43
  • Of course people but tickets for family members all the time, but the booking is associated with the name of the passenger, not with the name of the person who booked or paid for it.
    – Hilmar
    Jul 14, 2022 at 20:45
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Reasonable or not, ask (nicely). And if they refuse, escalate and (if necessary) go to your credit card company and say they double-charged you.

In retrospect you probably should keep a closer eye on the CC charges.

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    Wouldn't that be fraud if the airline didn't actually double charge him, but he rather bought the ticket twice (made two bookings)? the asker should clarify his use case before this answer gains any validity
    – meego
    Jul 13, 2022 at 19:19
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    This does not answer the question as asked: do I have reasons to get refund back for one of them?. It states how he may get money back whether he's right or not. Jul 13, 2022 at 20:20
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    Downvote. While I agree with the first and last sentence, I strongly disagree with the second. He was not double-charged for one ticket, he (accidently) booked two tickets and was charged accordingly. Just because OP thinks the airline is at fault doesn't mean they are, and simply reversing a payment because of one's personal judgement might lead to serious trouble...
    – Sabine
    Jul 14, 2022 at 14:48
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    @Sabine "Serious trouble?" Absolutely absurd. Worst case (relying on the OPs description of what happened) is simply denial of the claim when they investigate. It's not OPs problem the internal reasons why they double-charged him or her. They wanted one ticket and were charged for two. Jul 14, 2022 at 14:56
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    @SpehroPefhany I never had to revert a charge via a CC company, so maybe I'm wrong about the consequences (although a friend once told me about his troubles because, after returning an article, he claimed a partial reversion of the payment with his bank instead of waiting for the refund). But I still disagree with the advice to claim "double-charging" with the CC company. OP was charged for two tickets because he booked two. IMO, this is double-booking and not double-charging and has nothing to do with internal issues or the CC company, this is between him and the airline.
    – Sabine
    Jul 14, 2022 at 15:43

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