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Update on United and AA Refunds

On July 3 I noted (because of comments here about changes) that our flights to London had been changed again by United. These were for late August, and from what were originally 5 flights that night now only 1 flight was still flying (we aged already had our initial dropped and moved to different flight), and it is likely to also be canceled. Called United, put through quickly, no issue whatsoever with a cancel and refund via the phone call, and it was actually back on our credit card on July 6.
At this same point, I noted significant changes on our American flight to Edinburgh for October, 3 flights turned into 5, 4 hour change on the outbound and 2 hours on each side of the return. Called, and was curtly told by someone who ultimately claimed to be a supervisor that this was tough luck, and I could take or leave a voucher., DOT didn't apply. Already have one from AA that we are under pressure to use next year, don't want another. Following some advice here and other flyer sites, called using the AA Advantage phone the next morning (we are not AA Advantage), no problem and put through to a CSR in seconds, and CSR had no problem immediately canceling flights for refund. However, AA makes you then go to the page, where each ticket has to be input separately, which here meant 6 time different inputs - each ticket and each seat requires a submission by that ticket number, which is really strange because the seat should be refunded as soon as you are no longer on that plane. This was completed on July 7 and 8 (did not realize that seats were not automatic and input them the next day.). It took until yesterday to get email that the flight cancellation and refund had been approved, and the seat approvals came today, that is 10 days for each. No telling when this will show up on the credit card, but it is promised in writing.

But here is the other irritant. I looked the trips up, and that seems to be the experience of everyone here. Everyone who has purchased an online ticket (and that is likely almost every flyer these days) will have their email attached to that ticket. Why are flight changes not automatically triggering email notifications? I am not a computer engineer, but this has got to be an incredibly simple bit of instruction to add to the program for this (reservation system gets a Flight Change: AND lookup email and send revised confirmation). I know from past experience that Lufthansa does this, and I even recall 2 year go UA able to do this just to advise of an incredibly minor equipment change.

Posted by
3444 posts

I have been receiving tons of notifications about my United flights changing through email. I am a member of their frequent flyer program and all of the tickets I have remaining with them were purchased online while signed in to my account. My email is associated with the tickets through the account.

The airlines might have changed their notification systems to only send messages to their program members. But that doesn't really sound like a good change, especially now with flights being rescheduled so much where no notification leaves the passengers in the dark. And yes, if you provided your email during the purchase process, it should remain associated with your ticket in their systems and sending an email should be automatic. But airlines don't always do what the rest of the world considers logical.

Things like you are reporting about how AA makes you jump through unnecessary hoops to get your refund just adds to my lack of wanting to fly with them. In comparison, I have been able to cancel all of my United flights I wanted to simply by signing into my online account and clicking on "cancel" and then selecting "refund". One action per flight cancels everything related to that flight. Done and the funds end up back on my credit card in about 48 hours. I know others have reported difficulties with United, so maybe my experiences are not standard. YMMV

Posted by
7105 posts

The news this AM reported AA has the largest debt load of the major airlines, due to their aggressive fleet modernization. So it not surprising AA would make getting a refund tedious process with the hope some may opt for the easy solution, i.e. a voucher.