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United Airlines Extends its Re-booking time period from 12 to 24 months

Giving kudos to United Airlines, if I read the policy correctly. It took them long enough.

https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/notices.html#ChangeFeeTerms

We had R/T tickets to Europe, purchased on 1 Jan 2020, that we cancelled in mid-March 2020 due to COVID-19. United Airlines had originally stated that there would be no change fee but that we would have to reschedule and begin the first leg of our trip NLT one year from the original purchase date of the R/T tickets. I have been periodically checking the United Airlines website for updates on their policy. I don't know when they changed it, but it appears, from the link above, that United Airlines has extended the rebooking period for 24 months instead of the original 12 months. If I am reading this correctly, then it appears that United seems to be more customer-focused than they have been.

~Darrel

Posted by
2366 posts

Well, I’m getting dizzy keeping up with the number of times United has changed this and the various dates that apply. This from the website today:

Waiver: All change fees waived for tickets issued on or before March 2, 2020
Original ticket must be issued on or before:

March 2, 2020
Original travel dates

March 3, 2020 - May 31, 2020
Flight changes:

New tickets must be reissued within 24 months from original ticket date
Rebooked travel must commence within 24 months from the original ticket issue date
Airports:All cities

Waiver: All change fees waived for tickets issued on or before March 2, 2020
Original ticket must be issued on or before:

March 2, 2020
Original travel dates

June 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020
Flight changes:

Changes or cancellations must be made on/before April 30, 2020
Rebooked travel must commence within 24 months from the original ticket issue date
Airports: All cities

So much depends on when you booked, when your flight was to be. I’m in that group that needs to cancel before April 30 for a flight on May 31, purchased in Oct. 2019. So, from what I’m reading I need to book within 24 months from original ticket date and fly within 24 months from original ticket issue date. Is “original ticket date” the same as “original ticket issue date”? Can’t tell. United has been sloppy with terminology, changing terms every few days. Customer frocused? I don’t think so. I’d rather have a refund and not be tied to booking with an airline that 1) may or may not be in business in 24 months and 2) if they are might have flights that are more expensive than what another carrier offers. I’m thinking of taking my chances, waiting to see if there is a cancellation and get a refund. This is R/T Rome and I can’t see Italy opening up by 5/31.

Posted by
185 posts

Alan: I feel for your circumstances, not the best place to find yourself. In my situation, 24 months is far better than 12 months. Not an optimal solution; but, an improvement over the previous policy. So, I see that as evidence of an improved focus on the customer.

Posted by
2103 posts

They are looking for the best chance to get to keep your money with the idea that you will be inclined to reschedule with them if they give you enough time.

Compare this with something we just saw from Iberia. They are offering me a flight fare at $218 for a trip in October that would be about $437 on BA. They are in One World, the actual flight metal for this is BA and AA, and not Iberia (EWR->LHR, and return DUB->PHL, on BA and then AA. Since the trio is to Edinburgh I could take this from PHL, and not have to book separately LHR->EDI for another ~$50 , but you get the idea), so what is the catch? Looking at the price breakdown, the various fees and taxes are the same for booking at BA or AA, about $216, but the fare, i.e, ticket, is -- $2. Iberia does not show a refund policy for these, only a credit, and at that it must be for an Iberia-operated flight on at least one segment. This does not cover any of this trip. They are gambling that this flight does not happen, and that you will then be locked in to repurchase from them when you reschedule at their full price.

Posted by
1509 posts

Don't they have to refund your money if you want it?

Posted by
2103 posts

Yes, but they are hoping you won't ask for it. Reminds me of when my daughter-in-law's flight (direct) to Italy on Norwegian for her semester abroad got cancelled, and replaced with a flight to Copenhagen 5 hours alter, with a new flight to Italy arranged for the middle of the next day (she barely made her required orientation session). And they even got away with making people pay not only for the new Copenhagen to Italy segment, but also a new baggage charge for that flight. Even though they knew they would not only have to refund all the charges, but were also going to get socked with EU261 compensation for everyone who knew to file. It allowed them to hold the money for awhile, and keep it from anyone who did not know how to recover it.

Posted by
3145 posts

Yes, if an airline cancel a flight, the contract of carriage stipulates that the airline must refund the ticket at 100%. The issue for so many is the timeframe in which that refund will take place given the thousands and thousands of cancellations.

Posted by
3145 posts

I’m thinking of taking my chances, waiting to see if there is a
cancellation and get a refund.

That is what I did and my Delta flights starting April 15 were canceled one week ago. I have requested a refund and it is being processed within 10-15 business days.

Posted by
185 posts

Regrettably, in our circumstances, our flight was not cancelled. Although, I suspect there were a lot of empty seats. Anyway, once this passes, we'll be back in the air to Europe.

Posted by
75 posts

I had a departure flight for May 15 originally Dallas to London via DC. It was just “rescheduled” to earlier departure time and this time via Chicago instead of DC, isn’t this technically a cancellation? I feel like I’d be entitled to my money back?

My return flight for early June is still the same as when I booked it. I don’t think this virus will clear up in Europe within 5 weeks when I’m supposed to leave. I was just waiting for United to cancel so I can get my money back

Posted by
1351 posts

Common sense business move as there won't be a vaccine until 2021, so you roll the dice until there is. Nobody wants to get stranded in Europe when COVID-19 flares up again. Well, maybe some people wouldn't mind.

Posted by
2127 posts

I pushed the cancel button on my May 2nd United flight to Romania yesterday and chose the option to rebook by April 2022...while I wouldn’t have minded a refund of my $1036, I’m also fine with the voucher.

Posted by
75 posts

I have to hand it to United, these guys know how to work hard to keep their money. A week or so ago they send "urgent" email saying my flight itinerary has changed and I need to accept the changes or cancel. The new flight would depart 3 hours sooner and stop in Chicago instead of D.C. on its way to London.

I ignore it.
Few days later, same email except with addition of "Final" notice. I ignore that too.
Few days later, they cancel it and say I can get a voucher/certificate. I had to email them with Department of Transportation Enforcement Notice which states if the airline cancels the flight the passenger is owed a refund. Same notice also states passenger does not have to accept any itinerary changes. Now its a waiting game, I already filed a complaint with the DOT.

Posted by
364 posts

Mexitokyo, you might try calling them. Monday, i received an email from united saying my flight had been canceled. I called reservations and got right through to an agent. I told him that my flight was canceled and as it was an international flight, the voucher would do me no good because it states that you can only use it on United flights and they don't fly to Athens. He said just a minute and came back on and said he would process a refund. The money was back on my card on Thursday. The call took 5 minutes. I called my two friends who were going with me and they did the same for them.

Posted by
2366 posts

Ditto, what Leslie said. My flight to Rome disappeared! They had us flying to Newark then back from Rome (long swim to Rome). I called, on hold about 5 minutes. Was offered the voucher good for 2 years. I replied “my flight was cancelled it appears I respectfully request a refund”. This for 4 tickets. Told it could take 3 weeks and seat upgrade refund would appear first. Got those, waiting for the airfare refund.

Posted by
75 posts

filed complaint with department of transportation, they wrote back saying United has 30 days to acknowledge the complaint and 60 days to submit a response