Bumped by Avianca

By Steve Buchwalter
This item appears on page 27 of the November 2017 issue.

While at the Lima, Peru, airport trying to check in for an Avianca flight to Cuzco on Dec. 23, 2016, my wife and I were told that we could not check in — even after we showed them our seat confirmations — because groups and continuing passengers were being given priority. The word “overbooked” was not used, but I received that impression about the flight. (This was later confirmed by my travel agent.)

Eventually, we were placed on a flight that arrived at Cuzco more than two hours later than we had originally planned. Meanwhile, we were given two vouchers for breakfast.

Knowing that we would miss a couple of hours of prepaid touring, I inquired about receiving compensation for being bumped. The agent who supplied the breakfast vouchers instructed us to go to another agent, at “position 1,” for reimbursement of “approximately $40 each.”

When we went to position 1, the agent told us that nobody had put our information into the system and we would have to return to the original position to have the information entered. We went back to that position and were told that the information was, indeed, in the system and we should return to position 1. 

Upon returning to position 1, the person said she would take our email address and email us the compensation. We provided our email address.

At this point, we had no time to use the breakfast vouchers without jeopardizing our catching our later flight.

After we returned home, and never receiving the promised email, I filled out an online claim form on Avianca’s website requesting reimbursement, but I got no response.


West Orange, NJ

ITN emailed a copy of Mr. Buchwalter’s letter to Avianca and was sent an acknowledgement of receipt but no formal response.