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Airline Refunds

Call me careless. I booked two "non-refundable" tickets on Delta from Seattle to Munich. We were supposed to leave on April 8th.

Now, that our State Department has issued a level 4 travel advisory recommending against all international travel and now that Germany has closed its borders is my flight even going to leave? Getting through to Delta is a nightmare. Long delays. I have previously been told that since my ticket is "non-refundable" I can't get anything back. However, is that really true when traveling itself becomes literally impossible or impractical?

Has anyone had experience with this and gotten a refund?

Posted by
6150 posts

Have you tried cancelling directly on Delta's website? Every website for a major airline I've seen spells out the refund rules and how to cancel online, is Delta any different? Most people buy non-refundable tickets - the refundable ones are too expensive, it's not your fault.

Posted by
106 posts

In my experience you have no right to cancel your flight and expect a refund.

However if the airline cancels your flight or makes a significant change to the original scheduled time you have the right to a full refund.

So you just have to have patience and wait. As soon as an airline cancels or changes a flight they send an email to all reservation holders. Given the circumstances the chances are good that your flight will be canceled and you will get a refund.

Posted by
6754 posts

The only Delta flights to Europe right now are to Paris (1) and Amsterdam (2), according to a Delta bulletin I read. You will get an email before April 8th, at which time you’ll be able to cancel and request a refund. Before the email, the website will tell you to contact an agent, which is nearly impossible. After the email telling you they are working on your itinerary, you’ll be able to go to “ modify flight”, “cancel flight » and follow the prompts. I got my notification 4 days before the non-existent flight though it was still posted as flying. And you can request a refund. I don’t know if I’ll get a refund or if they’ll restrict me to a credit. Just sit tight,

Posted by
2802 posts

As soon as an airline cancels or changes a flight they send an email to all reservation holders.

That's usually the way it works, and it's worked that way for me on Lufthansa in the past. But that hasn't happened now. Lufthansa didn't send me an email when they cancelled one leg of my flight next month, nor when they cancelled the 1st leg of the 1st flight yesterday, but I discovered it because I've been checking my itinerary pretty frequently. I now have 2 legs to go.

Posted by
597 posts

I just went through this with Delta. I was scheduled to leave tomorrow from PDX to AMS to ATH. Delta cancelled the PDX-AMS leg and sent me a notice. I cancelled my non-refundable ticket online for the entire journey online. but never received online confirmation that I would, in fact, be receiving a refund. Yesterday (48 hours out) I called customer service. Working through the phone tree, I select the "refunds" option. After a hold of about 30 minutes, I got a live body and they confirmed the cancellation and the refund. They said it may take 7-21 to process.

It seems the trick is to wait until Delta cancels a segment of your trip. Then call and pursue the refund.

Posted by
42 posts

We cancelled our American Airlines tickets and go a full refund. The thing that helped us was the changing of our schedule from American. We were non-stop and then got rerouted through chicago. For the online form under reasons, I listed change of schedule and Covid-19.

Posted by
5487 posts

See Delta website:

Delta is waiving all change fees for travel impacted by coronavirus.
This applies to all U.S. domestic and international travel departing
in March or April 2020, international flights departing in May 2020,
as well as all tickets purchased in March 2020. 

If your travel is eligible for a waiver, you can move your travel
dates and even select a new destination. You can cancel and/or change
travel by December 31, 2020, or your ticket expiration date. Your
unused ticket will be applied toward your new flight, and in some
instances a fare difference will apply. If the new fare is lower, you
will receive an eCredit for the difference. If the new fare is higher,
the difference will be collected.

Posted by
6754 posts

I did the date change, the fee waiver, and finally the reimbursement the last two weeks. To note for clarity:
1. They will waive the change fee, but you need to pay ticket price difference if applicable.
2. If you wait until they cancel, you can request reimbursement on-line.
3. Your flight may still show on "My Trips" or your app, but if they aren't flying that route, it's cancelled. Their IT is behind.
4. The system will block you from canceling on-line until Delta sends you the canceled flight email.
5. Once you have received the email, the ability to cancel the flight yourself on-line is activated. Be sure to choose Flight Cancelled from the drop down menu.

That's how it worked for me. Before the travel ban, I had a 4-hour wait for a call-back. Once the travel ban started, I had a 9-hour wait. By Saturday, no call-back option and I was calling from France. So I bought a new ticket on-line. Coincidentally, at the same time I received the Delta change email. That de-blocked the request for reimbursement, so I was able to do that on-line, too.

Posted by
396 posts

I only purchase non-refundable plane tickets. I canceled our American Airlines tickets online for travel this summer to Europe. I called to get a receipt showing that I would get $0 refunded. I have cancel for any reason travel insurance but I must show what if any was refunded. The phone agent didn’t have any way of giving me a receipt.

So I used their online refund request. I said all I wanted was a receipt. Four days later (Thursday) the full amount of my ticket had been credited back to my credit card. Additionally, I called in to cancel my AA frequent flyer tickets for summer travel. They didn’t charge me the $525 to reinstate my miles, and they refunded me all the taxes and fees I paid.

Other people in my timeshare travel forum (TUG) have also reported that American is refunding tickets outside of the time period they posted publicly.

All I have left to cancel is Aegean Air. I call them in Greece. I am put on hold for exactly 10 minutes, and then I get disconnected.

Posted by
4809 posts

Delta has changed their website to allow a cancellation and refund via the site. If they make a change, take the refund option as well. If you want to talk to a human and your trip is weeks off, don't call, let them help others with more immediate plans. Delta was advising not to call until 72 hours before your flight. I know that drives the OCD planners crazy, but have some patience in these times.

Posted by
2711 posts

I called, waited 30 minutes (tip, call from your Skymiles registered number) and got my refund. The system recognized that I had a cancellation and put me through to a special line.

Twitter @Delta works also, just wait for them to reply, it might be a day or 2 but you are not on hold.

Posted by
921 posts

"Call me careless." Not really. I always book nonrefundable air tickets and take out trip cancellation/medical at the same time. Nonrefundable with insurance is a far more ecomical way to go as opposed for paying quite a bit more for the option of changing for a fee, or a free change at about double the price.

Sure, my insurance does not cover a Covid-19 illness but I’m presently allowed to change my dates until March 31st 2021, or if my flight is cancelled I can change to a different date within twenty four months. And if my flight is cancelled I receive a return of my insurance premium.

Then again, I have no idea why regular flight schedules have still not been changed dramatically (at least Air Canada) as many European countries have closed their borders to regular visitors.

Posted by
15 posts

I kept checking our scheduled flight times from Seattle to Atlanta. Our grandson's wedding was postponed. We had an Alaska Airlines ticket which was non-refundable. The departure scheduled on 4/30 changed by over three hours. I told them that I had read that if the schedule changes by two or more hours, we are entitled to a refund instead of a future flight credit. They just gave me a refund after weeks of phone calls trying to get a refund. Keep trying, they have canceled and changed many flights.