Continental: Thanks For Letting Us Screw You

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Richard Jones flew on Continental so much that he saw some employees "more than my family members," but after a recent experience, he says he's finished doing business with the airline.  

It all started when Jones booked a flight from College Station to New York last spring and had to cancel the trip because of a family emergency. Continental sent him an e-mail confirming the cancellation and noted that "the value of your ticket (about $400) can be applied to future travel on Continental Airlines."

When he couldn't use the credit later on, he called Continental and found out that he would get only $200 for a flight, and he'd also have to pay a $100 "change fee."

Jones wasn't available by phone, but he sent Hair Balls the e-mails he received from Continental and wrote, "I contacted [CEO Larry] Kellner several times about this and I received no reply until January [2009]. I had the impression that he would want to keep the customer happy and preserve a business relationship. However, Mr. Kellner has taken no action to do such a thing."

Continental complaint letters are sometimes a thing of beauty (pornographic jig-saw "puzzel"?), but Jones went a different route and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, one of 790  BBB complaints that Continental received during the last three years, mainly for "refund or exchange issues." Southwest had a meager 213 complaints during the same time, and there were a whopping 1714 filed against American.   

Jones says Continental responded to him, through the BBB, and the airline said they appreciated his business but would no longer respond to his request for a refund.

"It is amazing to me when I see Continental speak about how much they appreciate your business," Jones wrote. "They screwed me out of money."

Someone from Continental wasn't immediately available for comment, but we'll update with an explanation when we get it.

Update: Continental says they'll look into it, but won't have an answer until next week.

-- Paul Knight

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