Subject: Hidden Fees and Tax
My Name: PanamaSooner
My City: HOUSTON
My State/Territory: TEXAS
My Complaint Against: Continental Airlines
Complaint Category: Tours & Travels
Claim Amount (Approx.):
My Complaint Description:
I have been attempting to book a ticket using the "Advanced Search" option. I was looking for the lowest fare so I did not need exact dates or the +/- 3 Days option, I was/am "flexible" with my dates. I have used this option many times to review prices and to actually purchase tickets. As you know, the destinations are required and then a beginning date for travel, then a choice for the total number of days desired for the trip. I did this and the familiar grid appeared with dates and fares, noting the lowest fare in green, which were December 25-31 and then again in mid-January…$470. I clicked the price and as usual it took me to a list of flight options but with a price of $710.
I spent an hour or so trying to figure out if it was me, my computer, or a rogue cookie… I called customer service and she got the same results and could not explain it but said she would notify the appropriate department. I continued this for two more days, getting a mix of prices, and all considerably higher than what www.continental.com said was the "lowest available fare". Now, I just hung up with a representative in your web support department and after about twenty minutes of her getting the same bizarre results, researched the issue enough to find there is a $240 International Fuel Surcharge Fee.
That "fee" is over 50% of the "lowest available fare" and is NEVER mentioned or explained on the website or during the reservation process. I fully understand and expect that the $470 does not include fees and taxes so the final fare is higher…but double your "lowest available fare"? I wasted (yes, I am at fault for being so stupid) three days checking your website, expecting the computer glitch to be fixed or frankly, some semblance of logic for the unexplained increased fares. So, now I can use what few miles I have and pay the fees for expediting the OnePass reward ticket (that fee is posted), pay the increased fare or not make the trip.
I could also try American Airlines but they do not have good connection times and they have really gone down hill the past few years… I'm writing this due to two reasons, I decided at the last minute to visit my family in OKC and the price seemed fair enough, considering my timing… and I want someone, somewhere at Continental Airlines to know how disappointed I am with the online services. It has been an extremely frustrating few days that could have been avoided if this YQ tax was noted and explained on the site.
I still do not have, what I feel is a logical answer to how a tax could be so much… and a flat $240, not a percentage…and hidden from a loyal flier. Plainly put, it is deception in advertising. Okay, I feel better and now I just need the tax explained to me. I can then move forward with planning my trip. Thank you.