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Airline refund strategy

I optimistically booked a RS Spain tour and flights in the Spring for late October-November. The tour was cancelled as everyone knows but I still hold the airline rez with American. Looking to see if anyone has dealt with this issue with AA and what would be the optimal strategy. We had a May trip to Greek islands which was cancelled by the tour company booked earlier this year and I waited for Lufthansa to cancel the flight, figuring I had a better chance for a refund. Just got the notification from Lufthansa that the refund had been processed (5 months after the cancellation!)

Flights are less likely to be be cancelled this time, unless there is a massive second wave of COVID. Should I just cancel it, take the credit and hopefully be able to re-book next Fall? Any other options? I have read the available info from AA and the web, but just checking to see if anyone had had any recent experience.

Posted by
3457 posts

I would wait until closer to the flight date before doing anything. Nothing to lose by doing so.

Since the flight is still scheduled right now, even though there is no guarantee we will even be allowed into Europe anytime this year, if you request the cancellation the only thing you can get is a voucher. If you wait and AA cancels the flight, then you are owed a full refund according t US regulations. That doesn't mean AA will willingly and happily give you that refund, it might take more time on the phone with them than you want and lots of (unnecessarily) complicated online forms to fill out, but you will get the refund owed to you.

Posted by
18696 posts

There's also the possibility the flight will be rescheduled significantly enough that you'll be entitled to cancel and get a full refund. I would absolutely wait.

Posted by
1357 posts

I just wanted to add to this conversation that you should check on line for whether the flight is still scheduled. By this I mean, if you can still theoretically buy a ticket. I had a flight to Milan this past May which was cancelled but I never received notice of the cancellation. When the flight was no longer listed, I called American and got a refund.

Posted by
30 posts

I was scheduled for a Rick Steves spring trip to Greece. The AA flight kept changing my departure times. Then, as I recall, they wanted me to fly to Miami and from there, fly to Athens. I asked for a refund and received it.
I was also scheduled for a Rick Steves fall trip to Turkey. I booked with Turkish Airlines. I was going to request a voucher but the customer service rep told me to wait and see if the airlines changed any of the departure times, as changes exceeding one hour allows you to receive a refund, not a voucher. I waited and sure enough, my flight times changed by more than 1 hour.
I plan to be an active international flyer again once the virus is under control, will give AA and Turkish Airlines my business.

Posted by
17 posts

Waiting did pay off! AA changed our departure time by more than 4 hours, which meant we qualified for a full refund with the cancellation . The AA rep handled this very efficiently.

Hope to do the Rick Steves Spain tour some day, but I think Fall 2021 would be the earliest. I can’t imagine that sort of travel would be much fun with all the precautions. Going to have to be travel adventures in nature for the time being.

Posted by
12314 posts

All in all the airlines have stepped up pretty well in the face of COVD. Good to see.