Cranky Flier reports that United has slightly walked back its crazy policy published this weekend not to provide refunds to customers in the event of a schedule change less than 25 hours.
- United is reducing its international schedule 20% and its domestic schedule 10%
- That’s going to inconvenience a lot of passengers, who will want refunds
- So United decided to stop giving refunds in most cases – including (and especially) to customer who already purchased tickets when the old policy was in effect to allow refunds in the event of a schedule change of 2 hours or more.
United is imposing more draconian terms on customers right as customers are shying away from booking travel. United is ‘conserving cash’ by keeping its customers’ cash, even when it fails to deliver the service that it promised. As a result right now there is almost no reason to book travel on United if you can help it.
United Relaxes Is Policy Somewhat To Waive Fees With a Two Hour Schedule Change
After a swift backlash in social media, United will now let customers cancel and retain a travel credit without a change fee in the event United changes flight schedules 2 or more hours. The credit must be used within 15 months of original ticketing date (up from the usual 12 months for a credit). United still won’t give refunds unless the schedule change is at least 25 hours. A two hour schedule change had entitled a customer to a refund before this policy change.
This Isn’t Close To Reasonable
Cranky suggests United was more or less doing us a favor by letting us get refunds when they failed to deliver travel within two hours of what we bought.
United has the right in there to let you use a credit for future travel without paying a change fee. It already had the language, but it just opted to let people get refunds if disrupted by more than two hours in the past. Now it’s shifting its plan to conserve cash.
His argument is ‘it’s in their contract of carriage’ so they were just being more generous. I disagree in the strongest terms. United had a published policy of allowing refunds for two hour schedule changes. Customers relied on that policy when purchasing their tickets. United has changed the policy retroactively for already-purchased tickets.
And not everything in the airline contract of carriage is reasonable. People believe they are buying travel based on the description the airline provides – they are buying travel for a specific departure time, if the airline tells them it’s a non-stop flight that is what they think they are buying (people often decide what airline to buy from based on whether the flight is non-stop or connecting).
Just because airlines have special dispensation under the Airline Deregulation Act to skirt state regulations and even many common law-based suits doesn’t make it just or reasonable.
While the change to United’s draconian policy of letting customers use travel credit in the future without a change fee when schedules change (but not get a refund if the schedule doesn’t change by 25 hours) is better than what they announced published – but did not announce – over the weekend, it’s still underhanded in the extreme.
[…] shifting risk away from the travel provider and onto the customer. That’s United’s no refunds rule unless they change your schedule by 25 hours or more. United doesn’t have to deliver the flight they sold you, and they’re keeping your […]