SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --Now that consumers can purchase airline tickets online themselves, there is a higher risk of them making crucial mistakes.
San Francisco resident Lindsey Keener had a great time visiting with her 21-year-old niece, Desiree. The visit was so much fun, Keener didn't let on about the trouble that came before.
It started when Keener bought her niece's ticket to fly in from Ohio. She went on cheaptickets.com and booked a flight on United Airlines.
Keener then made a mistake. She typed the passenger name as Desiree Keener, but her niece is Desiree Conley. "I inadvertently typed in my last name instead of her last name," Keener said.
She isn't sure why she did that and didn't notice until it was too late. "They would not give me a refund or a voucher or anything," Keener said.
Cheaptickets told her only Desiree Keener could use that ticket, except there's no such person. "I said, 'But there's no Desiree Keener. There's Lindsey Keener, there's Desiree Conley,'" Keener said.
Keener had to cancel the ticket with the wrong name and buy a new ticket with the right name. She wanted a voucher to replace the cancelled ticket.
"They kept saying, 'We can give you a voucher for Desiree Keener,' and I'm like, 'There is no Desiree Keener.'" Keener said.
Cheaptickets told her she could get another ticket with a new name but there would be a $250 change fee. "Which seemed really absurd to me. And I said, 'I'm not going to pay that,'" Keener said.
Keener contacted 7 On Your Side, and we contacted Cheaptickets and United Airlines.
Like most carriers, United Airlines will not change a passenger name for free -- unless the change is slight.
The airline will, for example, correct a misspelling or reversal of first and last names.
United Airlines said the policy is intended to increase security and prevent fraud, like criminals putting their name on someone else's ticket.
Cheaptickets said it warns customers to confirm all information when booking flights.
Cheaptickets and United Airlines teamed up and provided Keener with a voucher for the full fare in her name after all. Not only that, United Airlines gave her a $100 credit for travel.
"Our customers' security is our top priority, and we have policies in place to protect them and prevent fraud," United Airlines said in a statement. "We are pleased that we were able to reach a resolution with Ms. Keener."
Cheaptickets said it strives to serve the needs of every customer and they are happy the issues was resolved to Keener's satisfaction.
Keener has already booked a flight with that voucher. "I'm so happy. I'm really grateful to 7 On Your Side," she said.
Cheaptickets and most airlines will allow a customer to cancel their ticket without penalty within 24 hours of booking a flight.
Make sure, when purchasing a ticket, all information is typed in correctly. Airport security won't even let a passenger through if the name on the ticket doesn't match the name on their identification card.