Fly the Unfriendly Skies

Airline penalty for doing the right thing

Everyone from the president of the United States to the Centers for Disease Control said not to fly if you sick, so that's what James Daniel did: He stayed home. Now he's finding out there is a big penalty if you miss your flight.

"I was not a person you wanted to be sitting next to for the next five hours," said James Daniel, who let his wife and daughter fly to Hawaii but stayed home until he got over the flu. 

When Daniel asked about rescheduling his United Airlines flight. he was told that his $400 nonrefundable ticket would now cost more than $1,000.

There is no guarantee that sick people -- or anybody else -- can change flights and get a ticket for the same price. 

"Each airline has a different policy, and you have to ask," travel agent Nancy Nemecek said.

In fact, United Airlines does have a policy that would help Daniel, but he said no one told him about it. 

United Airlines spokesman Rahsaan Johnson said that passengers who furnish the airline with a doctor's note will be refunded the extra fees. When told about Daniel's dilemma, United said they would honor his original ticket and not penalize him for staying home.

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