I spoke to a girl in the Pier Lounge today. Seems she bought a ticket from Houston to Cancun on which the return trip was left open dated. They told her it would cost $100 to have a fixed date put on it, a cost she accepted. She's now contacted Continental to get a date of a few days time inserted, but they told her they've changed their tariffs and now they want $500 to specify a date, something which has to happen before she can use the ticket. She seemed pretty sensible, and her father (a professional engineer) has contacted Continental in Houston and has been given the same story.
This seems to me amazing, but unfortunately it does correspond with the arrogance with which most airlines are treating their customers these days. But surely it's also breach of contract?
Reminds me of the last time I flew from London to Belize via the USA, last December, the whole way on American. My ticket was a through ticket, with a (necessary) stopover in the USA (I chose Dallas). I brought two checked bags from London with no problem, but when I checked in for the Houston-Belize leg I was told that only one bag was permitted, and furthermore the maximum permitted weight per bag was a lot less than had been permitted across the Atlantic. I pointed out that I had a through ticket, but they said they regarded any flight from the USA to anywhere in or around the Caribbean as being an "internal" flight, and under their rules for internal flights only one bag was allowed. I argued long and hard with this absurd ruling, only to be told that unless I paid $200 for the second bag it would not be carried.
Is this not "demanding money with menaces", which in Britain at any rate would be a serious criminal offence?