Simon Calder's Helpdesk: Have I been overcharged for this minor Emirates booking change?
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Friday 24 May 2013
Q. I booked an Emirates flight to Durban online, with what I was told was a special fare as I am a Skywards member. I chose the departure from Manchester at 2.10pm as our usual departure time of 9pm was not shown on the schedule. This meant a 10-hour wait at Dubai.
Two days later I checked Emirates website again and the departure time of 9pm was available. So I phoned Emirates customer service and they said seats were available. They charged £75 for each of two passengers to make this change. I think this charge is excessive for three minutes work. Do you think I have been overcharged for this minor change?
A. The airline is within its rights to charge you £150 - which is actually a fairly small penalty, by airline standards, for adjusting an outbound departure. However, you are a member of the loyalty programme and have presumably spent handsomely in the past. So I find it surprising that the airline has decided to exercise its right. Fortunately, competition in the aviation business is flourishing, so you have plenty of choice about where you place your business in future.
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