Under DOT Pressure, United Returns To Pre-Pandemic Refund Policy For Flight Changes

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United has been desperately trying to avoid handing out refunds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the pandemic, United would provide refunds if they changed your flight schedule by 2 hours or more.

Previously they tried saying that your flight schedule would need to change by 25 or more hours to get a refund, but their lawyers told them that policy wouldn’t stand up in court, so they changed it to 6 hours.

Then United decided if your international flight schedule changed by more than 6 hours you can only get a travel credit valid for 12 months from the time of original purchase. At the end of the 12 months you can then ask United for a cash refund if you haven’t used the travel credit.

Thousands of people filed DOT complaints and the DOT stepped in and said that was not OK and that cash refunds were required, so United went back to offering cash refunds on 6+ hour changes.

However United still refused to provide refunds to people who purchased tickets before the pandemic when their flight was changed by more than 2 hours. The DOT wrote that this was an unfair and deceptive practice and that airlines that refused to honor the terms under which the tickets were sold would face enforcement actions against them.

United has finally decided to stop fighting their customers and has resumed their 2 hour change policy.

Best of all they are retroactively honoring cash refunds, even if you already accepted a voucher for a 2+ hour flight change. You can contact United to change that voucher in for a cash refund or file a refund request here.

Once again, kudos goes to the US DOT for keeping the airline industry honest!

HT: nafnaf12, via DDF and Zach

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37 Comments On "Under DOT Pressure, United Returns To Pre-Pandemic Refund Policy For Flight Changes"

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I purchase a Flight EWR-TLV before the pandemic for Aug 3, United changed my return flight for 6+
Will I get a credit if I cancel?
Thanks, Dan


if i cancelled my outbound flight and it flew and then united cancelled the inbound am i entitled to a refund?


If someone purchased a flight on Norwegian, (ny-denmark) Which was cancelled. What options do they have? They’re only offering a voucher


If purchased through a travel agent who is responsible for the refund


A little unclear to me – does this apply to international flights only? For flights booked before which date?

Michael Rosner

What about Jet Blue who refuses refunds and only gives a travel voucher? Has that changed over the past 8 weeks?

Flying Again Soon

So, I’m curious. I originally had a R/T flight from EWR/TPA on 4-9-20, returning on 4-12-20. Due to COVID-19, I cancelled the flight a few days before departure (the flights were eventually canceled by United also). Right now, I have a travel credit. Am I stuck with that or may I receive a refund? I’ll gladly take the refund :-).


I had a return flight that was book for for 10:45. they moved it to 8 pm. They did not want to give me back my money only a voucher or rebook. So I rebooked. I keep on pushing it off. I really don’t need the ticket at this point. Isreal is not letting in the bochurim. Can I get a refund?


I was scheduled to fly IAD-TLV in late March and return in early April.
They changed us to IAD- EWR-TLV on the same dates. They flights happened.
The IAD-EWR-TLV outbound flight left 6 hours earlier and but got us into TLV within an hour of the IAD-TLV flight.
The return flight arrived 6 hours later in IAD.
Do I qualify for just the return or both?


AirCanada refusing me a refund for a flight cancelled that was purchased thru Orbitz as they state all refunds must be processed thru Orbitz.
When contacting Orbitz, they claim my ticket is non refundable and as per AirCanada policy, I will only be awarded a travel credit/voucher.


edit: already filed a complaint with DOT


we were flying United for Pesach, they changed the flight to 11 hours later, they refunded with no argument


I have R/T from Fll to TLV with stopover in EWR on 6/30 with United. At this point, probably won’t be allowed in Israel, but am waiting for them to cancel so I can get refund. Just noticed that my return flight on July 13 is arriving 4:30 AM in EWR. This was original flight with no changes. But they changed my EWR to FLL from 6:38 AM to 10:05 AM. Based on this change, if I cancel, will I be entitled to refund? Even without any change, of Israel does not allow me entry, can I get refund?


I have a flight for yom kippur and Delta changed departure from 3:45 to 10:30 pm. They didn’t offer a refund. What can I do?


I booked a United flight mid March from
TLV-EWR-ORD the first flight flew on time and the Connecting flight from EWR-ORD was canceled by United. I canceled the whole reservation beforehand and They gave me a voucher. Would they give a refund if I call?


Just spoke to United and agent claims that only if flight was cancelled they can give refund, otherwise its voucher only.


thanks Dan
i was able to get a refund even though they already gave me an electronic voucher


Thanks for the tip. My flight in August was changed to arrive 5.5 hours later and when I called two days ago, United said no refund since it wasn’t 6 hours later. After reading this article, I called again this evening and got my refund.


This worked! Called United, they first proposed voucher or flight credit. Once I referenced the two hour change, they immediately said they would give a cash refund. Thank you!


Wow thanks Dan for posting you made me call again united after receiving just a voucher, but obviously i was more interested in a cash refund, and they issued it to me ( and the real mazel i had is that i canceled my flight actually but they told me when i called them that They changed the schedule for more then 2 hours so i am eligible.


I was supposed to fly EWR-TLV for Pesach. I cancelled the flights a day or two before due to quarantine rules in Israel. Is United required to refund?