Call For Action team helps veteran get thousands of dollars back

By  | 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A veteran is getting back thousands of dollars after our 11 Call For Action team got involved.

Photo: Vincent family

He was flying to Afghanistan and had to pay for a whole new ticket because of the way his name showed up on the original one.

"It's just frustrating. It's very, very frustrating."

John Vincent is a contractor who helps our troops in Afghanistan.

"He's a fire inspector so he is there to ensure the buildings are up to code and up to standard and safe for the troops," his wife Brinah told 11 News reporter Katie Pelton.

The trouble started for John when he tried to fly back to the Middle East at the end of a short visit home. He had purchased a round trip ticket.

"The way it works with contractors is you are flown from Afghanistan to Dubai and then from Dubai, you purchase tickets to come home," Brinah said.

When he went to the Colorado Springs Airport to fly back to Dubai, that's when the trouble began.

"He was told by the American Airlines representative that his ticket was not going to be honored. It was not valid because of the way his name was on the ticket."

Brinah showed Pelton the ticket. John's first, middle and last names were printed in the first box, and his suffix was in the last name box.

"This came through Expedia. So we have his name in Expedia, and this is how it came out of the Expedia system into the American system. ... When you look at the itinerary, you can see in some places it's scrunched together and in some places, it's not, so it's very hard to tell there was a problem," Brinah explained.

It wasn't a problem for the first leg of his journey.

"He checked in two times because of his journey, and went through customs and immigration with no issue," Brinah said.

Her husband ended up having to buy a whole new ticket at the Springs airport -- costing him more than $5,000.

"The subsequent ticket squished his last name and his suffix together and then had his first and middle name separate."

They didn't have time to sort it out at the airport.

Pelton: "You couldn't wait another hour or another day to figure this out?"
Brinah: "Right, exactly. If you miss one leg, then he was going to be essentially 24 hours late, which missed the transport, which puts him off the helicopter."

Thankfully, John did make his transport.

"We were fortunate by a confluence of events and paychecks to have the money on hand, and he was able to buy the ticket. But most of the time, we would not be able to do that. Absolutely the vast majority of people would not be able to do that," Brinah said.

When Brinah first reached out to the airport, she says they only reimbursed a couple hundred dollars.

That's when she turned to our Call For Action team.

Pelton talked to American Airlines, who told her the third-party travel agency should have corrected the name. But in light of the circumstances, they are going to refund the full amount.

Pelton also reached out to Expedia, where the Vincents booked the ticket. The company says travelers can cancel their itinerary within 24 hours if the information on their reservation is incorrect.

But again, Brinah and John didn't know anything was wrong at the time.

If you ever have a problem with a company, you can reach out to our team of Call For Action volunteers. They help mediate when someone has an issue.