Capital One Travel Issue with Booking Flight
One of my every day cards is the Capital One Venture X card. For the $395 annual fee you get Priority Pass membership plus a $300 annual travel credit and a 10,000 point anniversary bonus each year (worth $100). It is my one premium credit card and for the time being I don’t have plans to cancel it.
The catch with the $300 annual travel credit is that your travel must be booked through Capital One Travel which is powered by Hopper. I tend to always avoid online travel agencies and prefer to book direct whenever possible. But in wanting to use my $300 travel credit, I booked a trip through Capital One Travel.
My trip was a one way trip with two legs; Tivat, Montenegro to Zurich to Luxembourg on July 21. I booked the ticket in late May; roughly 2 months prior to departure. Here is how the trip looked at booking:
- First flight (TIV-ZRH) was marketed as LX 8415 (Operated by Edelweiss Air) departing at 9:00, arriving at 11:00.
- Second flight (ZRH-LUX) was marketed as LX 754 (Operated by Helvetic Airways) departing at 13:10, arriving at 14:15.
The trip was $152.20 and I received a confirmation for the flights from Capital One. I received the credit for the full amount from Capital One about a week after booking. An email from Capital One confirming the credit was the last communication I received from Capital One regarding the trip.
On July 14, I received a generic email from Swiss reminding me of my upcoming flight in one week. It was addressed to “Mrs. Waite” which I thought was funny but when I logged in to see my flight info it listed Mr. Waite so I wasn’t worried.
There was nothing in the email mentioning a flight change; however looking at it now; it did have a new second leg flight listed:
- First flight was the same as originally booked.
- Second flight (ZRH-LUX) was now marketed as LX 758 (Operated by Helvetic Airways) departing at 17:20, arriving at 18:15.
In hindsight, I should have compared the itinerary in the email I received to the one I originally booked. However, I was traveling to 13 countries this summer which involved a ton of flights. I track my flights (and hotels) on a spreadsheet. I receive daily emails from airlines and hotels and unless it says something about a change; I skim it and move on.
Then two days before my flight I received an email notifying me that my seat assignment had changed. It was only a 55 minute flight so I wasn’t too concerned. Again, I should have looked into it more carefully, but I was traveling and I didn’t really care about the seat assignment.
When it came time to check in for my flight, I did so online. I had no problem checking in for the first leg, but I kept getting an error when trying to check in for the second leg. I figured I would get it worked out at the airport; I wasn’t checking any bags so wasn’t too concerned.
At Tivat; I was again given the first leg boarding pass but not for the second leg. I figured I would just need to get it when I landed in Zurich.
However, when I landed in Zurich and was looking for a gate for my connecting flight, there was no 13:10 flight to Luxembourg.
I pulled up my itinerary in Capital One Travel to confirm. Here is how it looked at that time – same as my original booking:
I was able to find a helpful Swiss gate agent who was able to look up my reservation and print my boarding pass. She explained that my original flight (LX 754) had been cancelled and I was rebooked on the next available flight automatically.
Being the summer of 2022 and travel a mess around the world; I wasn’t too surprised that a change had occurred but I was a bit annoyed that I hadn’t received any communication about it (or so I thought at the time). The only downside was that I now had a six hour layover instead of two and wouldn’t be getting in to Luxembourg until later; cutting in to my already short stay to explore the city.
I was able to go to the Connections Desk and was giving a 20 CHF voucher since there had been a flight change which covered a fast food lunch.
My flight was delayed by about 30 minutes but I ended up in Luxembourg without much issue.
EC261 Compensation Claim
As my flight was cancelled and I ended up arriving over 4 hours later than my originally booked time, I went ahead and filed a compensation claim. The European Union has passenger friendly laws when flights are cancelled or delayed.
After five days, I received the following response from Swiss (bolding is mine):
You have completed a form on SWISS.com to check your eligibility for compensation in case of flight cancellation or long delays in application of Regulation EC261/2004.
You have been informed that your flights LX754 would not operate as originally scheduled on 21 July 2022. On behalf of SWISS and its cooperation partners, I apologize for the resulting inconvenience for you.
The announcement of this change took place more than two weeks prior to the scheduled flight departure. In such a situation, described in the Article 5.1 (c) (i) of the regulation EC261/2004, no right for compensation exists.
According to our records, you had originally booked your journey with a travel agency who were informed of the changes on your itinerary. To ensure a fair treatment of all guests, I hope you understand that I cannot grant a favorable response to your request.
Although I realise the difficulties caused, I count on your understanding that I am unable to give you a different answer.
I replied asking for details about when Hopper was notified, who was notified, and what the message was. I received generic responses:
Your file has been reviewed. Please note that the schedule change was communicated to your travel agency who you had booked with initially.
We reiterate that the schedule change was sent via an automated message to your travel agency whom you had booked with.
Please note that guests / passengers who book directly with SWISS will be updated directly by us for any changes to their itinerary and third party booking will receive a notification which is sent to them whereby they will then inform the passengers thereafter. Our records show that you had booked via Hoppers Inc online hence kindly refer to them for further information.
However SWISS has responded adequately in your case. I therefore trust in your understanding that this message reflects our final position and that this file is now considered closed.
I never received compensation from Swiss and that was the last I heard from them. Capital One Travel only has a phone number and no other way I could find to communicate. My guess is that SWISS does send out some sort of automated notification to online travel agents when there is a change; but Capital One Travel doesn’t actually do anything with that info. It seems like it would be easy enough for SWISS to directly contact the traveler as they have my contact info and it also seems like Capital One Travel should at a minimum update the itinerary if they receive notice of a change.
I probably would have caught the flight cancellation if it had been just one booked flight or even the first flight in the itinerary. It is a good reminder to check carefully on each of your flights a couple of days before the flight and then again the day of the flight directly on the airline’s website. It is also a good reminder to always book direct with the airline (I’m confident I would have received an email had I booked direct). If you have to book with an online travel agency, then pay extra attention to the booking on the airline website as you may not be notified of changes.