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Should I cancel my flight or wait for Iberia to cancel?

Several months ago, I booked a non-stop round-trip flight (LAX to/from MAD) for early October, 2020. Today, I received an email from Iberia asking me if I am still planning to utilize this reservation. If "yes", they want me to let them know by clicking the "Si, voy a volar" button. If "no" and if I want a voucher to re-book travel before 31 December 2021, they want me to let them know by clicking the "Obtenar bono" button - BUT they say I only have until 17 July to make my decision. What I prefer to do is to get a full refund and re-book on my own terms.

On the Iberia booking site, all direct flights between LAX and MAD (between now and beyond my October travel dates) are no longer listed, and I suspect they are (or will be) cancelled.

I think Iberia knows that my flight will likely be cancelled, and they are trying to get me to seek a voucher before their 17 July "deadline".

Here are my questions:
1) If Iberia cancels my October flights, will they be required to offer me a refund?
2) Is 17 July a false deadline intended to push me to request a voucher instead of holding out for a refund?
3) If I really just want a refund, how should I play this out?

Thanks so much for your advice.

Posted by
1853 posts

I was in a similar situation with Lufthansa. I knew that my September flights weren't likely to go and, even if they went, I probably couldn't fly them since I'm American. I waited until Lufthansa cancelled one of my flight legs. I didn't want a refund but I did want a new ticket in the same travel class that I booked - and I didn't want to have to pay a fare difference. (In this case, I got a great deal on a business class ticket. To re-buy this ticket for the new travel dates I chose would cost me 2K per ticket)

According to the Lufthansa site, if I opted to reschedule due to COVID-19 or simply due to the fact that I am American and likely can't travel, I would get $2900 worth of credit - the price of the original ticket. But I wanted a new business class ticket without laying out any additional money. And for that, I needed to wait until Lufthansa cancelled at least one leg of my flights.

I won't speak to your refund rights as I didn't research that before I proceeded since I didn't want one. The key thing though is to wait until the airline cancels.

I get a lot of good info on this kind of stuff on FlyerTalk, if you've never been there.

Posted by
6375 posts

We waited months for Iceland Air canceled all our flights so we could apply for full refunds.

Posted by
2593 posts

I can't speak to Iberia flights but I will tell you how we dealt with a potential cancellation. We were booked to fly to Sicily on Delta/KLM in September. We were resigned not to travel. We chose to wait for Delta to cancel our flight. On September 10 a portion of our flight was cancelled. We went ahead and cancelled all legs of our flights. We received a full refund 8 days following the cancellation.

This is the first I've heard of an airline stipulate a deadline like this. Perhaps others have had this experience? Best wishes in your decision.

Posted by
2786 posts

I canceled a Delta flight to Europe and was offered a voucher but not $. When asked for $ I was told that since I had canceled I was only entitled to a voucher for future travel. Knowing what I know now I should have waited for Delta to cancel the flight and then asked for my $ back. I have no need for a voucher anytime in the next year anyway.

Posted by
740 posts

Real simple (probably 2 dozen threads on the topic).
For international flights out of and into the United States the rule is: Airline cancels the flight (any part thereof) and you get a refund (if you want cash over a voucher). You cancel and you can get nothing up to a voucher. Most airlines are granting vouchers or allowing you to reschedule if you cancel during this pandemic.

Want a cash refund- you have to wait and see if they cancel your flight then you contact them, by phone, and stay firm on cash refund.

Posted by
96 posts

In addition to requesting a refund if one or both segments of your flights is cancelled, you could also request a refund if your flight is changed from the original. For example if a stopover was added to either segment, or they lengthened the layover, or changed the schedule. Then you can tell them the changes are unacceptable and you want a refund.

Posted by
3116 posts

they lengthened the layover, or changed the schedule

Those first 2 are US federal regulations, but this one is dependent upon airline policy. Delta is changes over 90 min, but I think for most airlines it is 2 hours.

The answer is to not cancel, however they are arbitrarily putting you in duress by stating a July deadline so any cancellation you make may not be legally binding, but you would have to go to court to get that determination.

Posted by
2407 posts


If it helps, Delta has extended the expiration date for most vouchers to 9/30/2022.

Posted by
1219 posts

I got the same email from Iberia but have to respond bu 7/10.

Posted by
4742 posts

I waited for Air France to cancel my flights in July of this year. Last month it was cancelled and we got a voucher to be used within a year, but if we don't use it, we get a FULL REFUND.
Check, Iberia for those details.

We didn't get the deadline that you got. Try calling them to get details.

Posted by
44 posts

I am (Orbitz) Swiss Air Boston to Zurich to Ibiza 3rd week in Sept for a week then back. Wonder what they'll do?

Posted by
195 posts

I had a situation with Iberia. It's detailed on another thread. Our flight from BOS to MAD was scheduled for 6/22. In April (I think) we got an email asking us if we would like a voucher, in case we did not wish to fly. We waited.

Eventually, we got an email that the flight was cancelled and we could request a voucher online for future travel.

We called and got an agent who agreed to refund our fares, but he told us it would take up to 5 months for the refund to issue. We agreed. The money was refunded with a couple weeks (if I remember correctly).

Good luck,

Posted by
44 posts

So all comes to those who wait... :)

Swiss Air cancelled my flight to Ibiza - Orbitz called me to let me know, and a very nice person helped me get a refund (only since Swiss Air was willing to refund)(and only because THEY had cancelled). I am still on infinite hold with Orbitz trying to cancel my hotel(which allows cancelling). EDIT was using wrong number, use 312-279-7777 - (Orbitz) quick. got hotel refund.

On another note, I cancelled my Zurich night return layover hotel with about 3 clicks and will get a refund for that( There's a lesson here somewhere... :)

Tin Leg is working on canceling my trip insurance and giving me credit good for a year. This is fine.

I will definitely do things differently next time I book! Probably book air thru airlines. and hotels thru ...

EDIT: all 3 refunds were posted to my account on Aug 12. 3 days. very fast. I do have $250 credit with Tin Leg for insurance for future trips good for 1 yr.(although trip itself can be any time in future.)

EDIT2: Tin Leg just extended that credit to 2 years. :)

Posted by
10 posts

UPDATE & Final Resolution regarding my October flights:
I did not take Iberia's bait. Iberia cancelled my flight on August 4. In the cancellation notification email, Iberia offered me a free re-booking of another itinerary or a voucher in the full amount of my cancelled reservation (approx $3,000 for my spouse and myself flying Premium Economy). Each of these options was presented with a large red button that I could select by clicking on it within the email. However, when I scrolled to the VERY bottom of the email, I noticed (in fine print) that Iberia would allow me to request a full refund - BUT I had to call their customer service phone number and request the refund. On August 6 I called Iberia, and (after more than one hour on hold) I was able to speak to a representative and request a full refund. On August 21, I received the full refund to the credit card I used in the original purchase.

"Always read the fine print" and "Don't take the bait" - Truly good advice.

Although I will definitely be booking a trip back to Spain just as soon as the travel restrictions are lifted, I'm very glad to have my money back in my pocket rather than a voucher (with a 2021 expiration date).

Keep on Travelling