With the pandemic still escalating in most places and trips of all kinds being canceled, a huge number of people in the U.S. (and abroad) are trying to reach the airlines by phone. People who have had flights canceled (I’m among them) want to know their options. And especially after the DOT stepped in, many, if not most, are demanding their money back. The situation is trickier if your flight hasn’t been canceled and instead has been amended or is even on schedule.
In short, if you need to reach an airline to get a refund for a flight for a reason related to COVID-19, you may not have an easy time of it right now. Each airline is responding differently, which is why I wrote this post on my experience trying to get a refund with five different airlines. But for the most part, wait times are long (try this trick if that’s the case) and people are still struggling to recoup value for flights they can no longer take. I’m getting questions from readers every day asking what they can do. Here’s one question I got from a reader named Keith H.:
“I listen to you every Saturday with Leo. Question: I canceled with AA 1.5 days prior to my flight and got a credit. AA then turned around and canceled the flight the eve of my departure. Am I out of luck for a refund? I did try to submit a refund request anyway. Thanks!”
Here’s my advice for Keith and anyone who’s in a similar situation:
“Thanks for the kind words! If your flight hasn’t been canceled by the airline, my best advice is to wait until just a few hours before your flight to review your options/cancel your booking. I know that doesn’t help you [Keith] but because you canceled I don’t think they’ll give you a refund to you (instead of just a credit with no change fee). However, it’s always worth a try. Let us know if they give you a refund.”
It’s tempting to take action as soon as possible if you know you won’t be able to travel. But if your flight isn’t canceled, you’ll likely have a harder time getting an outcome you’re happy with. If you can bear it, wait as long as you can before calling. More time waiting means more time for the airline to officially cancel the flight. If you’re looking to get a refund for a flight, that’s a good thing.
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