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TPG reader Ben tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy—”Is United liable for its WiFi not working when it was promised on the flight?”

As someone who travels frequently, I know how annoying it can be to board a flight that you think has WiFi, only to discover once you’re in the air that the connection doesn’t work. I’ve experienced this many times, and it always frustrates me.

It can be really frustrating when you expect inflight WiFi and it doesn't work. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
It can be really frustrating when you expect inflight WiFi and it doesn’t work. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

TPG reader Ben paid more for a United flight because it had WiFi and he had things to do online, and then the WiFi was broken. So, is Ben owed compensation? As per the contract of carriage (the agreement the customer makes with United when purchasing a ticket) I’m sorry to say that you’re out of luck. United really has just one obligation, which is to get you from Point A to Point B, and there isn’t much in the way of consumer protection when it comes to ancillary fees for airlines.

In fact, United has been in trouble before for not refunding fees for upgrades to Premium Economy. Passengers have waited months for their refunds, and have really had to go after the airline to get what was owed.

If you have United MileagePlus Premier status, you can try to leverage your loyalty by writing a polite letter to see what customer service can do for you. You may get some miles (or maybe nothing). I once got 15,000 miles from American Airlines when I had a seat that didn’t recline, which was a very nice gesture.

It never hurts to ask, and while I doubt you’ll get anything, you may as well try. Please report back to let us know what happens, and good luck!

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at

The Platinum Card® from American Express

While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year for baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations worldwide. Terms Apply.
  • Enroll to enjoy the benefits of complimentary Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status with your Platinum Card.®
  • No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
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Recommended Credit
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Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.