Son to Miss Father's Burial Due to Expensive Airline Change Fees

A San Antonio man will reportedly miss his father’s burial in Rochester, New York, today because he couldn’t afford the change fee and related costs of changing his ticket on Continental.

Airline Charged $675 for Change Fee, Other Costs

Fred Zajonczloski had flown from his home in Texas to be with his ailing 85-year-old father in New York and was scheduled to return home last Saturday (Dec. 17). Unfortunately, his father died and burial was set for today. The problem: the younger Zajonczloski tried to change his and his fiance’s itinerary so they could be present for the interment, but he was told it would cost an additional $675 for the two tickets. Since he couldn’t afford this, they flew home as scheduled and presumably will miss the burial.

Avoid Paying Big Bucks for Last Minute Emergency Flights

Continental to Investigate

Continental was contacted by a Rochester TV station and a spokesman for the airline responded by extending his condolences and saying they will look into the matter.

It is not clear how the $675 figure for a change fee and related costs on two tickets was arrived at. Continental’s domestic flight change fee is $150 per ticket, but it is possible that the remaining $375 Mr. Zajonczloski was told he had to pay for the two tickets represented the higher price of last-minute airfare – but at this point that’s not known.

See the 5 Worst Airline Fees of All Time

Beware Non-Refundable Tickets

What is known is that in general, the cheapest tickets on any airline are considered non-refundable. If travelers have the slightest inkling they may have to extend or cut short a trip, they should always bear this in mind and purchase a refundable (and more expensive) ticket.

When do You Really Need Flight Insurance?

Another possible solution: buy trip insurance, but if you do, read the fine print carefully. Paying good money for a product that doesn’t cover your needs is not going to help you.

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Published: December 20, 2011