British Airways hid the option to get a refund for cancelled flights and United retroactively changed their rules to refused refunds for major schedule changes and then told customers they’d have to wait a year for their money back.
Airlines that aren’t providing transportation that was purchased are trying to keep customers’ money, even as they seek more of their customers’ money in the form of government bailouts. While the international airline trade group is trying to get governments to legalize this theft, some carriers are doing it on their own regardless of the law.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation,
If your flight is cancelled and you choose to cancel your trip as a result, you are entitled to a refund for the unused transportation – even for non-refundable tickets. You are also entitled to a refund for any bag fee that you paid, and any extras you may have purchased, such as a seat assignment.
Miles From Blighty couldn’t get this policy honored by United.
Meanwhile Andrew shared his interaction with JetBlue, trying to get a refund for a cancelled flight from Bermuda to New York JFK next week. This isn’t a flight where he’s ‘decided not to fly’. This is a reservation that has been cancelled with the flight not operating.
JetBlue told him that refunds are not available for cancelled flights, because the cancellation is outside of the airline’s control.
The reader cites the airline’s contract of carriage, which specifies a refund for a cancelled flight. The airline agent says that commitment is void under the current circumstances.
The airline then continued to debate the language of their contract of carriage claiming that they aren’t required to provide a refund when they’re forced to cancel a flight. The passenger wouldn’t receive transportation they paid for, wouldn’t even get their money back, just a future flight credit.
This is the sort of absurd claim that chargebacks are for, and at this point that’s what the reader threatened.
JetBlue hung up the chat with this,
Thank you for your feedback. I will be sure to pass this along. Have a great day!
Eventually he got a telephone agent after a long hold time and they granted a refund ‘as an exception’ because the agent misunderstood and believed the airline had stranded him in Bermuda (he lives there).
Airlines seem to be refusing refunds. In Europe, they’re required to refund cancelled flights. There are required to do this in the U.S. also. Any government enforcement or government fine, though, is something that will only come down the line. Most people won’t file complaints. And in the meantime the airline gets an interest free loan. Don’t accept that.