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Moved from CHI to Dubai, now cannot use nonrefundable flight from CHI, any ideas?

Hi there,

I'm trying this forum as y'all are generally experienced travelers and very helpful.

My situation: in April of this year I was living in Chicago and booked flights and accommodations to Dublin and Paris for Thanksgiving via an Aer Lingus flight, I purchased via priceline, it is nonrefundable, and I did buy travel insurance. In August I was offered a job in Dubai and moved here 2 weeks ago. I called Aer Lingus way before I left to inquire about changing my flight from Abu Dhabi as they fly there and paying the fee -- no go. I could not change country of origin for the ticket, for no amount of money (would not have been willing to pay much anyways though). I could change the city in USA or potentially the name on the ticket (which seems dubious?) but no refund, no credit, nothing. I called the travel insurance company and because I have chosen to move, they are also no help. And of course, Priceline was no help.

In the stress of my international move I left this drop, cancelled my Dublin hotel and changed my trip to Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris as the Paris airbnb was nonrefundable. I was luckily able to get a very cheap flight for this itinerary (the beauty of moving to Dubai). Now I am trying to figure out if I have any options to recoup my $1000 for the useless ticket by selling it somehow -- has anyone done this? Or pursuing this further with Aer Lingus, at least demanding a credit somehow. I did not press the issue in September given everything else going on but feel like I may be able to get something out of them -- has anyone had luck with this?

Thanks for any advice / thoughts you may have,

Posted by
6037 posts

You cannot change the name on an international ticket, and usually not domestic either. I'm sorry to say that you dropped the ball by not including this in your post-acceptance salary and relocation negotiation. Employers in places like Dubai are reconciled to providing expensive travel for relocated employees - but every business in the world is much happier paying for things they knew about Upfront. I am not making light of your plight, but this may be a case of why that Microsoft executive took a well-deserved beating for his remarks about compensation negotiation. As my late mother in law liked to say (pre-liberation, somehow) "Ask not, Get not."

Posted by
8293 posts

Is there a chance your employer in Dubai would help to offset your loss? You could ask at any rate.

Posted by
7 posts

@ Tim: I do have a flight package but it doesn't kick in until 1 full year employment and my employer did shell out generously for my relo and are paying my living accommodations for several months. I had told them about this but my relo was a lump sum to be used as I saw fit, and they were certainly generous with that. Moving internationally is not cheap though so I certainly don't have enough left over to cover this loss.

Even if they did pay it that would not sit right with me, I have a flight I can't use and Aer Lingus has stonewalled me and given me no options, so was mainly looking for tactics to get some type of credit for a flight in next year with change fee maybe? But response does not seem positive.

Posted by
6037 posts

Unfortunately, there is nothing unusual about Aer Lingus' position. I've read that most airlines are responsive to a certified death certificate of someone who is clearly an immediate relative, but there aren't many other reasons for an airline to exchange or credit a "Non-Refundable, Non-Changeable" fare. They made a reasonably honest deal with you - a lower fare in exchange for an unchangeable commitment. This has been standard policy in the airfare business since the U.S. deregulated the business. (Right now is not the time to consider their possible right to bump you at the last minute, or cancel the flight for broken equipment or bad weather! They were honest about the terms of sale-I presume. You haven't accused them of misleading you.)

I frequently buy Travelex insurance because my mother is elderly. But I know this would not be a "covered" condition. In fact, Travelex sells a specific "Business" rider for an additional fee that might apply to your situation. But we never buy it. I know that when my wife was ordered to return early from a vacation we were on, they picked up her change fee. I forget if they paid for mine, but I think so. And she was not any kind of fat-cat executive. I realize that is not a parallel situation, I just think you are trying to reconcile yourself to what has happened.

I hope some Aer Lingus customer here may be able to advise you on your specific question.

Posted by
1834 posts

Hi Sarah, sorry about your problem. Can you negotiate with the airline to pay a change fee and use the ticket later this year to pay for another flight within their parameters? Maybe a trip home at the holidays? I'd ask to talk to a manager and see what happens. I had an issue with the airlines a few years ago, e-mails and letters didn't get a positive response but I was able to work something out by calling them. Good luck.