Should There Be Mercy?
A recent email raises again the question: When there are rules, should airlines just stick with them, or should mercy ever be shown?
The email was from a woman who took her family of four from Washington on British Airways to visit relatives in India. On past visits, all flights back were in the evening. The woman, when she got her reservations, glanced at the return, saw 8:40, immediately assumed p.m. and forgot about it. Unbeknownst to her, last year India and the U.K. made a deal that more than doubled the number of flights, so now international flights are leaving morning and evening.
On the day of her family's flight home, the woman looked again at the ticket and noticed it was for 8:40 a.m. meaning it was gone. There was still room on an evening flight, but the tickets the family held were no good, and they had to pay $5,000 to get home on new one-way tickets.
On the one hand, it was her mistake, and the tickets were nonrefundable. It's your duty to know what you've bought. On the other hand, if she took seats that weren't going to be sold anyway -- I mean how many people fly from India to Washington on a few hours' notice -- maybe mercy was appropriate.
What do you think?
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