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Gephardt: Passenger says Priceline promised 1st-class tickets but only delivered coach



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

CLEARFIELD — When you pay for a first-class ticket, you'd expect a first-class seat. So, what can you do when a third-party booking site sticks you into an economy class seat for the same price instead of the first-class ticket you bought?

It happened to Jason Andres who decided to take his twins "down under" as a high school graduation gift.

"We are headed to Australia," Andres said.

What an adventure! Kangaroos, crocodiles, koalas, and as an added treat, he decided the family should travel there in style.

"Priceline was running a special where the longest flight would be first class for just a little bit more," Andres said.

But months after booking the deal, he went online to check the seat assignment. Not only are they not the first-class tickets he said he bought, but they are sitting in the very back of the plane — adjacent to the bathroom. And his assigned seats do not even recline for the 14-hour leg.

Andres protested to Priceline, but he got nowhere.

"They came back and said, 'Well, I'm sorry there's nothing we can do.'"

With that, Andres decided it was time to call the KSL Investigators to see if there was anything we could do.

KSL Investigators reached out to Priceline on his behalf. A spokesperson blamed "tech-glitch," saying that even though its website indicated he was booking first class, he "actually booked, and was only charged, for an economy fare." Priceline said it "tried to upgrade him at Priceline's expense" but "there was not availability."

"It's a complete bait and switch," Andres remarked.

So, he and his family took off for Australia in the back of the plane. But after our calls, he said they arrived "down under" to some welcome news: Priceline is refunding them $3,000.

By law, a company must honor an advertised price. But the U.S. Department of Transportation rules do make exceptions for airlines or ticket sellers that can demonstrate that the fare was a mistaken fare.

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Matt Gephardt
Matt Gephardt has worked in television news for more than 20 years, and as a reporter since 2010. He is now a consumer investigative reporter for KSL TV. You can find Matt on Twitter at @KSLmatt or email him at matt@ksl.com.

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