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Globe-trotting

It may be time to define 'reasonable request'

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June 8, 2008

United said last week it's going to ground another 70 planes and trim domestic schedules 17 percent by the end of 2009. This came a day after Delta said it would pare flights beyond the 11 percent already announced, and a couple of weeks after American said it was cutting domestic flights by 12 percent. So what happens to folks who've booked on flights that will be canceled?

Ned Raynolds of American says they have an automated system that tries to put bumped passengers on the next flight, and airline reps then call to let them know. But what if that change won't work for you? It only makes sense that the airline will try to work things out, and all the spokespeople I talked to said as much. I have, however, heard stories suggesting that some airline reps might try to charge a schedule-change fee. These day that amounts to $100-$150 a ticket.

Bill Mosley of the Department of Transportation said that as a general rule airlines need to try to accommodate any reasonable request. He said if you fail to reach an agreement, you have the right to a full refund.

PAUL MAKISHIMA

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