Passenger says Priceline promised first class tickets but only delivered coaches

CLEARFIELD, Utah — When you pay for a first class ticket, you expect a first class seat. So what can you do when a third-party booking site puts you in an economy class seat for the same price instead of the first class ticket you purchased?

It happened to Jason Andres who decided to take his twins “downstairs” as a high school graduation present.

“We’re heading to Australia,” Andres said.

What an adventure! Kangaroos, crocodiles, koalas and, as an extra treat, he decided the family should go there in style.

“Priceline was running a special where the longest flight would be first class for a little extra,” Andres said.

But months after booking the deal, he went online to check the seat allocation. Not only are they not the first-class tickets he said he bought, but they sit in the very back of the plane, next to the bathroom. And his assigned seats don’t even recline for the 2 p.m. leg.

Andres protested to Priceline, but it came to nothing.

“They came back and said, ‘I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do.'”

With that, Andres decided it was time to call the KSL investigators to see if there was anything we could do.

So this time I contacted Priceline on their behalf. A spokesperson blamed “tech-glitch”, saying that although their website said he was booking first class, he “in fact booked and was only charged for an economy fare”. Priceline said they “tried to upgrade it at Priceline’s expense” but “there was no availability.”

“It’s just a complete bait and switch,” Andres remarked.

So he and his family took off for Australia in the back of the plane. But after our calls, he said they had come “down” for some good news: Priceline is refunding them $3,000.

By law, a company must honor an advertised price. But U.S. Department of Transportation rules provide exceptions for airlines or ticket sellers who can show the fare was the wrong fare.

About Wilhelmina Go

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