Please sign in to post.

Airline refunds

Had tour of Munich, Salzburg, Vienna scheduled for the end of April. The tour was canceled, understandably and with good reason , by Rick Steve's. Went to the airlines involved - United Airlines, British Airlines, and Lufthansa Air - to cancel and request a refund indicating the cancellation was not my choice and beyond my control. All 3 refused and instead offered vouchers good for one year. This is an unacceptable choice. I would never recommend or use these airlines again.

Posted by
5017 posts

Do a search on this forum. You will find many, many other threads, most with very good, practical advice (and with some ranting and complaining) - advice both on what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and also sugestions to calibrate your expectations and try to keep a bit of perspective (as we are in the midst of a worldwide disaster that will claim millions of lives).

Posted by
2903 posts

I posted some quotes and a link to an article about this subject on the forum today. You may want to read the quotes.

Your frustration is shared by many others. I am sorry for the situation you find yourself in.

Posted by
6061 posts

Unless it's too late and you already accepted the vouchers, it would be to your benefit to wait for the airlines to initiate the flight cancellations. It's not guaranteed, but it's likely and you have nothing to lose by that approach. If an airline cancels a flight, you are owed a refund (credit back to your card) and the situation is clear cut. If you cancel your reservation preemptively, then they will play games with you that are in their favor.

Posted by
3945 posts

All airlines are strapped for cash and all seem to be offering vouchers not refunds, since the cancellation is not their fault. On your basis, you wouldn’t fly with anybody as they are all doing the same thing. Wait until they cancel rather than cancel yourself to see if that makes a difference.

Posted by
2761 posts

Niels, had any of your flights been cancelled before you called? I called Lufthansa today, and after only about a 10-15 minute wait, I got an agent. I knew that 2 of my 4 flights (starting April 14) had already been cancelled, so I asked for a refund. The agent was very pleasant, and presented me with the voucher option, which she said could be extended until next April. I told her I'd prefer a refund because I didn't know when I'd next be traveling. She said she understood, and went ahead and processed the refund. So I think that once a flight is cancelled, the airline will undoubtedly try to get you to accept a voucher. But if you persist, you'll get a refund. I understand the airlines' predicament, and I would have probably taken the voucher option if I felt more confident as to when I'll be travelling.

Posted by
577 posts

Based on my current experience with Delta, I would not assume you are getting a refund until the money is back in your account.

Posted by
6536 posts

Our flight was booked by Ovago with American who passed it off to their partner, British Airways. And it was B/A that cancelled our return flight from Berlin.
We had been told online by B/A that we could get a full refund since it was them that cancelled
Then we got a notice online by American Airliens that our flight was non-refundable.
Ovago is now calling saying only a flight credit is being offered. But we can take the credit and pay another $400 to schedule a Fall, 2020 Berlin flight. And their computers don't go past 12/2020 on arranging 2021 flights.
When you get down to it, how can we be even sure that it will be safe to go to Europe in the Fall, and whether certain airlines will even exist then?

It's almost enough to make us take the credit and fly somewhere domestic. But there are so few places in North America we have not been to and care to see again.

Posted by
8490 posts

If an airline cancels a flight or rebooks you on a flight that is unacceptable, they owe you a cash refund. Now, they can offer you a voucher, a pet monkey, or whatever. If you accept any of those, case closed. If you insist on getting your money back, they have to oblige. They may not make it easy to get but they have to make the option available.

It's different if YOU cancel the trip. That has nothing to do with the airline so if it is a non-refundable ticket, you could be in trouble. However, most airlines are being nice about it because of the virus and offering passengers vouchers towards future flights. They are not obligated to give you anything

To the OP, I'm guessing it's a non-refundable ticket and that means non-refundable. Just because RS canceled you tour does not mean the airline has to give your money back.

Posted by
585 posts

just cancelled a domestic round-trip flight, departure scheduled for one week from today on United. The site allowed me to cancel for a full refund, and the process took about five minutes. I have thought very little of United in the past, but now will give it a closer look whenever that becomes an option.

Posted by
593 posts

We had the exact same experience with Lufthansa as Robert in Portland, Maine. Our plane was cancelled, they offered us a voucher, we requested a cash refund, Lufthansa said okay. The glitch is that the representative told us that we would see the refund on our credit in 7 days....that was 3 weeks ago. We have since contacted Lufthansa via Twitter DM and were told that they are running behind with refunds because of the large number of cancellations.

Anyone else receive their airline refund from Lufthansa yet?

Posted by
577 posts

While Frank II may be right about non-refundable tickets, I think it misses the point that the airlines are now being bailed out by the taxpayers, i.e. corporate welfare, socialism, call it what you want, but the airlines are now feeding once again at the public trough.

These are extraordinary times for travelers and the airlines. You can take the hard ass approach regarding non-refundable tickets if you want, and say screw the traveler. But in light of the corporate welfare being provided to the airlines, I think the airlines could acknowledge that travelers bought non-refundable tickets with the intent of using them as is. The same extraordinary circumstances that result in corporate welfare to the airlines are the circumstances forcing people to cancel their non-refundable tickets. It works both ways.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks Delta! I received a full refund for a non refundable business class ticket from Tampa through Cincinnati to CDG. I was given a call back time so I did not have to wait on hold. Was offered a voucher but said I would not be able to schedule my April in Paris ( Rick Steves Heart of France) tour within the time I would have to use it. Was then offered a refund which I accepted. This was Monday nite and my credit card has been refunded as of today.

Posted by
274 posts

I just used Delta's call back system and I was called within the time of 23 minutes and spoke with a very helpful and understanding agent (Larry).
Last week I cancelled my 4/20 flight - MCO-BOS -but was given an e-credit (the only choice online), but encouraged by all of you and your reports of actually getting a refund (I had only until December this year to use the credit which was not going to happen)
I just called Delta and they refunded the cost of my ticket.
Thanks to all of you for sharing your experience, and THANKS to Delta Airlines which I will be using for my trips as soon as I can go somewhere :-).

Posted by
2761 posts

The glitch is that the representative told us that we would see the refund on our credit in 7 days....that was 3 weeks ago.

Christine, I was told by the Lufthansa agent yesterday that my refund could take a month; they're so backed up.

Posted by
8490 posts

The bailout terms said nothing about passengers. The deal was no more layoffs. Some of the money was a grant and the other was loan guarantees.

The airlines were not made to treat passengers any differently.

Posted by
577 posts

I'm curious, Frank. Do you work in the airline industry? You seem awfully willing to defend their every move.

Posted by
157 posts

I sympathize with all businesses right now, as everyone is hurting and none of it is anyone's fault. Though I am curious how many billions of dollars the airlines have made off of passengers in ludicrous fees (gas surcharges even though the price of oil had gone down; baggage; seat selection; etc).

Posted by
51 posts

Niels570, if your flights were end of April they are most probably going to be canceled by the airline in which case you are entitled to a refund. You have to wait them out. I had a flight to Amsterdam April 14 on Delta that I knew they would cancel so I just waited until I got the email stating my trip was canceled. I got the email two days ago, called them today to request my refund and got it.

Posted by
154 posts

OK people, one more time.

If your tickets are refundable and you cancel, then the airlines must refund your money if you ask for it. If you accepted a voucher then decide later you want the money to bad, I don't think there's any airline that would allow that nor legally would they have to.

If your tickets are non-refundable and you cancel then you have nothing coming. The airline is still willing and able to take you from point A to point B. Not their fault that your plans have changed.

If the airline cancels then no matter what type of ticket you have you can get a full refund. Of course they will try to get you to take a voucher. In the US, any airline flying into or out of the country must follow US law that states airlines must refund in full if they cancel (and a few other reasons). However, if you are flying British Airlines from say Lisbon to Frankfurt and they cancel, they would fall under EU laws. Just because they also fly in the US you are not using them here so US law doesn't apply.

I just don't understand why people have such a hard time with this issue. When you buy airline tickets you enter into an agreement between you and the airline. Read that agreement before you buy. You agree to give them money and they agree to fly you from point A to point B. As long as the airline is able to do so they are fulfilling their part of the agreement. As unfair as it may seem, just because your hotel, tour, etc. cancels on you because of the virus (or any other reason), but the airline is still flying there and will still take you, the airline owes you nothing if you cancel a non-refundable ticket. As they say, you get what you pay for.

edit: I would never recommend or use these airlines again. Why? Just because they are going by the agreement you made with them? You don't say if your airline tickets are refundable or not but I'm assuming not. So read the above again.

Posted by
154 posts

Eric: The airlines are being helped so they won't go under. An agreement is an agreement, the law is the law. When a person agrees to buy a non-refundable ticket they understand and agree to that condition. If they change their mind later for whatever reason and want a refund, they don't have any legal grounds to do so. Doesn't matter there's a virus and countries aren't letting people in. If you had a refundable ticket and missed your flight would you demand a refund then? Well, you might, but the airline would tell you sorry, not our fault you woke up late. You even said it yourself, "extraordinary times for travelers and the airlines". The airlines are doing the best they can within their policies and the laws. You don't like it, buy refundable tickets. I understand where you and others are coming from. However non-refundable means just that unless both parties agree beforehand to the conditions that may allow refunds. This isn't about what might seem fair or right to you. It's about businesses following their policies and laws. If businesses had to give everyone full refunds even if they don't deserve one there wouldn't be to many businesses left.

" I think the airlines could acknowledge that travelers bought non-refundable tickets with the intent of using them as is."
They do acknowledge that. And "as is" is non-refundable. Also in that acknowledgement the airline agrees that they will refund you even a non-refundable ticket under some conditions. One of those conditions isn't because you want to cancel.

"The same extraordinary circumstances that result in corporate welfare to the airlines are the circumstances forcing people to cancel their non-refundable tickets."
First of all it isn't welfare, it's a loan. Just like the big auto makers got years back. No one is forcing anyone to cancel. If people would just wait the chances of the airline cancelling is very high. Then they will receive a refund. There are people on this forum bitching and crying because if they cancel their non-refundable tickets today for their trip in June they are being told no refund. And it isn't just their airline tickets but their hotels, tours etc. Just wait and let the business cancel.

And no, I don't work for an airline.

Posted by
23 posts

I saw on NPR that airlines are seeking to be released from the requirement to refund fares for flights they cancel. Much opposition to that position, of course.
https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/07/829091394/airlines-want-to-cancel-rule-requiring-them-to-refund-fares-for-canceled-flights

My 10th RS tour is scheduled for September, but my optimism that it will go is diminishing. I was lucky to get great fares on Delta in February, so if I have to eat the fare, it won’t be a disaster.

Posted by
577 posts

Tdw, a bailout is a bailout. The airlines are feeding at the public trough. The terms of the "loans" and whether they are ever paid back remains to be seen. Corporate welfare, plain and simple. I'm not saying that it isn't necessary to save the industry, but I object to the double standard where the public bails them out and then the airlines screw their passengers. These are not ordinary times, and the old "non-refundable means non-refundable" mantra is little more than airline apologist propaganda.