About 2 weeks ago I have bought a business class ticket from Vilnius to Bangkok and back for 2 persons from booking agent at tickets.lt. Later that day I received a PDF with business class reservation.

Today I received the following email from them:

Dear Customer, Thank you for chosing our service.

Regarding your booking on our web site, we would like to inform you, that due to the technical reasons your ticket was issued in business class. But, in fact, your order mentioned a booking in economy class of transportation. So, we have two options for you. The first one is to leave your ticket as valid for use, but your class of transportation will be the economy. The second one is a refund of the amount for your ticket. Please, choose which option is more acceptable and comfortable for you. And inform us in the answer to this email.

Please, contact us in the case of further questions. We are always glad to help you.

I'm an American citizen, tickets were bought using American credit card, and as I mentioned I'm flying out from European Union.

I want to fly to Bangkok, but only if it is a business class. My question is, is there any law outlining these kind of situations? Is it ok for booking agent just forcefully cancel my flight? Anything else I'm missing?

  • 9
    Did you also pay for a business class ticket, or did you pay for economy? – dunni Aug 9 '17 at 13:31
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    If a genuine mistake was made during booking, generally speaking in the EU and in most places in the US you are not legally allowed to benefit from it and the mistake can be rectified. It's a similar situation to receiving money in error - it's not yours. Yes the ticket can be forcibly cancelled. – Moo Aug 9 '17 at 13:38
  • What airline is this? Whenever an airline contacts me, it's always to call them, not email. – Michael Aug 9 '17 at 13:54
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    @MichaelC. sounds like he bought a ticket from some 3rd party brokerage site, not directly from an airline. – jwenting Aug 9 '17 at 14:08

My question is, is there any law outlining these kind of situations?

Yes. It's a rather large field of law called contract law. Specifically, you may want to look at “unilateral mistakes”.

If the travel agent cancels your ticket, your options are limited. In truth, your best bet is to move on, add the agent to your blacklist, and wait for the next sale.

If you do want to fight, then we have to look at exactly what you paid and whether it was a reasonable price. If you are trying to enforce a clear mistake, that isn't going to get you anywhere. No court in Europe is interested in upholding bargains made in bad faith.

Bangkok has very soft demand at the moment and it's easy enough to pick up business class tickets from about 1200 EUR round trip from certain points in Europe. If you paid substantially less than that, it is hard to see it as a reasonable fare. If you didn't, I'd advise you to buy new tickets from elsewhere and take their offer of cancellation.

If you really do want to try to enforce it, then you're probably better of going over to law.stackexchange.com for their opinion. Your credit card provider may be willing to assist you though, and in particular AmEx usually can solve these disputes in your favour quite quickly.

EC 261/2004 has an involuntary downgrade provision, which is 75% of the ticket price pro-rated for the fraction of the leg downgraded. But it will be an uphill fight to claim (especially if the airline believes it sold an economy ticket) and it would still require you to travel in economy class, which obviously is best avoided.

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