Valley man feels taken advantage of by US Airways

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX -- A Phoenix man says a major airline carrier is taking advantage of him so he contacted 3 On Your Side for help.

We're talking about US Airways, which is headquartered right out of Tempe.

Now, a Phoenix man says he likes flying his hometown airline, but his latest airfare purchase has ended in a sour note.

US Airways is Patrick Dittman's favorite airline.

"I've had a credit card since 1998 -- a US Airways credit card -- that builds up frequent flyer points," Dittman said.

It's a good thing because Dittman's in-laws live in Mexico and he and his family travel there several times a year.

And Dittman says their next trip to Mexico will be extra special.

"My wife's sister is getting married in May, so I've been looking for airfares specifically because we're having to buy four tickets," he said.

Dittman put off buying the airline tickets, hoping prices would decrease. Finally, he gave in.

"It got too close and I was worried that all of a sudden the prices were going to go up to $300, $400 a ticket," he said.

Dittman says he purchased his tickets online from US Airways' Web site and paid well over $900 for four tickets.

However, just two weeks after making that purchase, Dittman went online and noticed US Airways dropped their fares significantly.

"I went online and I looked, and all of a sudden the fares had jumped down considerably!" he said. "They had dropped lower by as much as $100 to $120 per ticket."

Dittman wanted to take advantage of the new lower fares, which would cut his $900 tab in half, but when he called, US Airways wouldn't do it unless he paid $600 in administration fees.

"It doesn't make sense to be charged $600 in administrative ticket fee charges to get $435 back in credit," Dittman said.

US Airways has what's called a Customer First program, which, in their words, guarantees the lowest fare if one becomes available.

Dittman took advantage of the program when he flew before. Why couldn't he do it again?

"I thought, I can't let this go because if it's happening to me, I'm sure it's happening to many other people and this is our hometown airline," he said.

3 On Your Side got involved and when we did, US Airways had a change of heart, telling Dittman they would honor the lower fares after all and return $435 in credit vouchers to him for future travel.

Dittman says he never would have been able to slash his airfare in half if not for 3 On Your Side. Although US Airways resolved the issue, I never did get an answer as to why their reps and their supervisors insisted on charging Dittman $600 in fees.

Regardless, Dittman is happy.

Statement from US Airways:

US Airways is serious about customer feedback and responds to most inquiries within a few days. We apologize for any miscommunication and as a result have waived the fees for Mr Dittman. The Customer First program is still active and we feel we are in line with industry practice and procedures.

Valerie Wunder Assoc. Mgr. Media Relations US Airways