Good morning, I bought tickets for a trip to Eastern Europe to visit my wife's family at the start of the year, using CheapOAir. As luck would have it, I was traveling when that Iceland volcano started kicking up, so I tried to change my travel plans since I was returning right when all the planes at Frankfurt (which my flights were going through) were being periodically grounded. I made plans to stay 2 weeks longer, and thought in my innocence that I could change my tickets....
I called up CheapOAir, and got a representative who told me I could change my tickets for $200, but I should call back that Friday, because, almost exactly in their words, "the company will be waiving all change fees then as a special service because of the volcano." They definitely said that change fees would be waived that Friday because of the volcano, and used the word "waived."
Well, I guess they speak a different variant of English than I do, since I thought that "waive" means "temporarily get rid of." The CheapOAir variant, however, seems to indicate that "waive" means "increase to $800." When I called on Friday and asked to change my tickets, I was told I could change my tickets for the low, low fee of $800. Bear in mind that these tickets cost $450. AND that I had been directly told that the change fee would be waived on Friday by a CheapOAir rep.
I pointed this out, asking that CheapOAir honor their promises about this matter, and the "courteous professional" hung up on me.
I called up again, was put on hold for about 70 minutes, and finally got through to a human. This individual repeated the $800 fee thing, and advised me to cancel to my ticket and get my money back and use that to help buy new tickets. "It usually comes to you in 10 days," they said, "although in rare cases it might be 3 months. We'll put in the request for the refund to the airline right away, though."
Long story short, I canceled to get the money back (paying a $100 cancellation fee up front on top of what they skimmed off the ticket price in penalties), simply because I wasn't paying $800 more for a return ticket change when I could buy round-trip tickets for less new.
10 days went by - no money. I was heading back to the U.S. around then, but I wrote to them and called them, and was told they'd put in the refund request, but the airline hadn't responded yet.
I got back to the U.S., a month went by. I called repeatedly, being put on hold for 110 minutes once, and a minimum of 30 to 40 minutes on at least 5 other occasions. Every time, I tried to call the billing department -- they have a number for it on the menu -- and every time, I was connected to the ticket sales department. The people there said they would connect me to billing -- I'd sit on hold 10, 15, 20 minutes, and get connected to a different person at the ticket sales department, who said they'd connect me to billing, etc. etc.
Finally, they put me through to the billing department, who assured me that the refund request had been submitted and I only needed to be patient.
To try to abbreviate this a little -- I was given the runaround for 3 months, then I finally contacted the Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau contacted CheapOAir, and I finally got my refund a week later. Here's the thing, though -- I called up the ARC (Airline Reporting Corporation) about this refund after the BBB got involved -- and it turned out CheapOAir ONLY SUBMITTED MY REFUND REQUEST 4 DAYS AFTER THE BBB CONTACTED THEM.
All those claims they submitted it were incorrect. All the e-mails I sent, the hours I spent on the phone, were worth nothing. It was only an implied threat of legal action that actually caused them to refund, despite their many, many claims that the "refund request had been submitted." So it took close to 4 months and BBB arm-twisting to get the money back that was supposed to be back in 10 days -- dozens of e-mails and dozens of long telephone calls did NOTHING.
I have no fault with the airlines -- they refunded instantly when they were actually TOLD they should refund.
I would definitely recommend using a different company than CheapOAir.