Another week has passed and the Swiss Int'l Air Lines Burma fare discrepancy remains unresolved. I am not in a rush--my trip is not till next June--but I do wish to resolve the matter quickly and have sent my contact at Swiss' Montreal office the following note:
12 October 2012
Dear Mr. XXXXXXXXXX,
Warm greetings. Although I am sending this letter directly to you due to our past interactions, I wish to first explicitly state that this letter constitutes a formal complaint against Swiss International Air Lines for the unilateral cancellation of two tickets booked from Yangon, Burma (RGN) to Montreal, Canada (YUL) on 05 October 2012. Please find ticket details below. I also wish to state at the outset that I wish to resolve this incident swiftly and amicably.
I need not explain the particulars of this fare--I know by now you are aware of them--but I do wish to state:
- The unilateral cancellation of my fare without permission or notice constitutes a fundamental breach of contract law and an unfair business practice in violation of Canadian, U.S., and Swiss law.
- Nothing in the Swiss CoC explicitly gives your carrier the right to cancel a ticket due to an alleged pricing an error.
- This was not a "mistake" fare. Consumers cannot reasonably be held responsible for currency fluctuations or errors on the part of IATA.
As we worked together to solve our Delhi issue three years ago, I am ready to work with you now to resolve this matter in a way that validates my rights as a consumer while working with you in attempt to reduce unnecessary expenses for both of us.
This case will set a precedent that goes far beyond whether a group of travelers enjoys the comfort of Swiss First. This case is about whether an airline can unilaterally intercede five days after a ticket is issued to cancel a reservation they deem too inexpensive. I need not remind you that in a converse situation in which I felt the fare was too high, I would have no recourse. For the sake of consumers around the world and because I have a very specific use for the tickets I purchased, I must forcefully argue that the doctrine of mistake does not apply here and therefore your airline had no legitimate basis in which to cancel my ticket and the tickets of others booked on a similar fare.
Feel free to call me, though I would prefer to work via e-mail so that we have a written record of our correspondence. I wish you the best and kindly request that we resolve this issue in an expeditious manner. I have not filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation and Canadian Transportation Agency, but will do so if we are unable to resolve this matter amicably.
Swiss has already responded to certain complaints with this form letter, though I have not received anything back yet--
Thank you for contacting SWISS International Air Lines Ltd. in regards to the travel you recently booked from Yangon (RGN), Myanmar. We are in receipt of your complaint and will provide you with a more substantive response as soon as possible. In the meantime, we would like to inform you that your ticket has been fully refunded. While processing times can vary based on your method of payment, please feel free to contact us if you have not received your refund.
It would be our pleasure to welcome you on board soon, and to convince you of the service and quality standards our airline has to offer.
Swiss International Air Lines Ltd.
Not exactly a sterling letter of reprimand like their rambunctious cancellation letter (which I still have not received)...
I will continue to update you with what is going on in this case. I expect a DOT ruling shortly on whether Swiss must honor tickets touching U.S. soil or face a hefty fine.