Simon Calder's Helpdesk: Have I been overcharged for this minor Emirates booking change?
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
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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