Over the weekend, the DOT issued a clarification essentially ordering that “airlines provide a prompt refund to passengers for flights to, within, or from the United States when the carrier cancels the passenger’s scheduled flight or makes a significant schedule change and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier.” I wrote more about it here.
This is good news for the many travelers that have had flights canceled due to the COVID-19 situation. Personally, I’ve been able to get my money back for flights with AA, JetBlue and Southwest so far and I’m still working on a few others. In fact, I just wrote up this post detailing my experience asking five different airlines for refunds.
Importantly, the DOT update doesn’t mean refunds will be processed automatically. If you’ve had a flight canceled or changed and you haven’t been refunded for it, you still need to get in touch with an airline representative. And as you may know, their customer service lines are pretty busy right now. Many credit card customer service lines are tied up, too.
Well, here’s a tip I just shared with a reader named Jim, who wrote in noting that he waited two hours to speak with his credit card issuer about a flight refund—which he was then denied. If you’re looking for a refund for a flight operated by a major airline, don’t forget that the U.S. number isn’t the only phone number you can call. Airlines like American, Delta and United have call centers around the world. If you can’t get through to a U.S. call center, consider giving their international call centers a ring. Here are pages with international numbers for American, Delta and United:
I recommend making the call over Wi-Fi (over Skype, for example) to save money. There’s no guarantee that the wait time is shorter, but if you’re in a pinch, an international number is worth a try. If your flight isn’t for a week or more, though, you should consider waiting until a few days before your trip.
Have you tried calling airline international call centers?
Have you ever tried calling an airline’s international call center? Did it work?
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