Airline Flight Refunds

Airline Flight Refunds

Airlines are holding on to billions of your dollars from cancelled flights.  When asking about a refund for a flight cancelled by the airline, some passengers have reportedly been told they could rebook for another date or get a future travel credit, but not a cash refund.  In many cases, airlines simply lied.

Under current federal law and regulations, you are entitled to a refund of your ticket price and associated fees if the airline cancels your flight.  Associated fees would include baggage fees, seat upgrades, in-flight Wi-Fi, and other optional charges.  Delayed flights are governed by a separate set of rules.

Per the US Department of Transportation (DOT):

  • Cancelled Flight – A passenger is entitled to a refund if the airline cancelled a flight, regardless of the reason, and the passenger chooses not to travel.
  • Schedule Change/Significant Delay – A passenger is entitled to a refund if the airline made a significant schedule change and/or significantly delays a flight and the passenger chooses not to travel.
    • DOT has not specifically defined what constitutes a “significant delay.”  Whether you are entitled to a refund depends on many factors – including the length of the delay, the length of the flight, and your particular circumstances.  DOT determines whether you are entitled to a refund following a significant delay on a case-by-case basis.  [Airlines set their own policies regarding what constitutes a “significant delay”, but their definition must be reasonable.]
  • Class of Service Change – A passenger is entitled to a refund if the passenger was involuntarily moved to a lower class of service.  For example, if the passenger purchased a first-class ticket and was downgraded to economy class due to an aircraft swap, the passenger is owed the difference in fares.

Source: https://www.transportation.gov/individuals/aviation-consumer-protection/refunds

Some airlines are been fair and upfront in dealing with cancelled flight refunds.  Some have not.  Review information on the DOT web site and know your passenger rights in the event of a cancelled flight.