US DoT Reaffirms That All Airlines Must Issue Full Cash Refunds For Cancelled Flights To/From/Within The US!

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The US DoT has long stated that airlines must issue a refund if they cancel a flight. However many airlines have been refusing refunds due to COVID-19 and hoping the DoT would look the other way.

The DoT has now clarified that COVID-19 is not a valid reason for airlines to refuse cash refunds of cancelled flights.

They say the clarification is being issued due to an increasing number of complaints from consumer who have been denied refunds.

  • This applies to both US and foreign airlines for all flights from, to, or within the US.
  • The refund includes the ticket price, taxes, and all optional services purchased.
  • A refund is still required even if a government refuses to allow an airline to fly.
  • A refund is due for both cancelled flights and flights with a significant schedule change. Unfortunately the DoT isn’t specifying what exactly is a significant schedule change, so there will be some wiggle room here.

The DoT says that due to COVID-19 they won’t be applying fines to non-compliant airlines immediately, but rather they will allow airlines the opportunity to come into compliance, update their policies, and issue refunds before they take enforcement actions against the airline.

That’s a whole lot better than Canada, eh?

Offending airlines such as Air Canada, Air France, El Al, JetBlue, Lufthansa, and United, you are officially on notice. Start issuing refunds or face DoT fines and punitive actions.

If an airline still won’t issue a refund, be sure to complain to the DoT here.

Have you been able to get a refund for your cancelled flights? If you call an airline, be sure to tell the agent or manager about today’s DoT guideance!

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124 Comments On "US DoT Reaffirms That All Airlines Must Issue Full Cash Refunds For Cancelled Flights To/From/Within The US!"

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Sam

Elal?

HW

What if I’m in middle of a round-trip and still have a way back will they refund me?

rebyid

So United’s policy of given a voucher which will only turn into a refund after a year, will be de facto permitted, as by the time the DOT gets around to enforcing its policy it will probably be a year from now and by then United will have given the refund anyway.

Moshe

What if I paid using AA COMPENSATION VOUCHERS? Better to leave the ticket open for use within a year or any better options?

GB

If they cancel your outbound flight, does that automatically allow you a full refund on your return since you couldn’t get there?

Shaul Morrison

Any clearer guidelines on how long they have to rebook you?

Danny

What if I didn’t want to fly March 1.

Mk

I’m in middle of a round trip which is on American from ORD-LHR-TLV. However LHR-TLV is operated by ElAl who emailed me that they canceled that flight. Would American refund me the full ticket?

Dan\'s the Man

El Al isn’t open to receive this DoT guidance 🙂

Dan, what do you think of Delta offering no change fees for 2 years for April and May flights?

Dan\'s the Man

I’m surprised the airlines aren’t doing what the cruise lines are doing. Offering an option of a credit for 125% the cost if you agree to take credit instead of a refund.

Dov

If United cancelled my flight, and rebooked me on an earlier flight (about 65 minutees earlier), would that be considered cancelled, or a non-significant change in schedule?

Dubi

United already changed their policy. Just called and got a refund for a cancelled TLV-IAD flight which was denied refund earlier. Took two minutes.

Bonnie Kurnick

Me too!!

david

Hi,

I booked with UR with saphire reserve points at 1.5, my flight has been changed drastically but not canceled with United airlines.. should i call united or chase UR? Chase UR is only dealing with flights within 72 hours of departures..
Can united refund or this was to be done via chase ur?
thanks!

Elli

although thats what it says.. i still managed speaking to a rep about my issue although my flight was after that time frame.. give it a shot..

Moshe

Jetblue only issued me a credit for a future flight, could I get back my money?

ah giten

this is just @Dan’s dream come true.
I can see you drooling during the write-up.
Thanks for keeping us posted on this.

YaakovD

If I accepted a certificate already from United it’s too late to do anything about a refund, correct? The refused to refund (was for a basic econ ticket)

Dave

My wife’s Delta flight changed by 50 minutes (the consolidated flights game). I’m in a “stay at home order”. Why shouldn’t I be refunded??? Flight’s Sunday.

Buckhurst neighbor

anyone have success with emirates?

Yossi

Is my united tlv-ewr afternoon flight in beginning of may cancelled? I see that they are not selling tickets anymore for these flight. Does that mean that this flight is cancelled? When will they announce it?

Dan\'s the Man

You got lots of time Buddy

Yossi

Yes but my credit card was already charged and I would rather want a refund or dispute before I need to pay it off.

cheskel

I flew in from tlv to ny with a round trip ticket that was delta direct and the return was klm with a 12 hour stopover that got cancelled. booked through chase ur with points. Will I get half of it refunded or do they factor in the price of each of the flights?

Levi

Does this mean they have to give me a cash refund, and not credit?

steve

got refund from spirits after i spoke to a manager….

steve

he

Andy

I got a refund from Spirit after merely asking to speak to a manager…their regular cust svc rep was able to issue me a refund. Thanks Dan!

NB

HI Dan what if you cancelled flights before the flights were officially cancelled? For both air Canada and westjet credit vouchers were given, (Toronto to ny and Toronto to orlando). The flights were then cancelled after I already did so. Would I be eligible for the full refund rather than the credit?

David

If United cancels afternoon flight and says take evening flight can I say no and request refund?

S

If I’m the airline, and I know the gov’t will bail me out regardless, wouldn’t I be happy to refund everyone to build up the reputation of being a nice and good airline?

Zali

Had direct flights for family on Alaska for Pesach. Outbound and return separate reservations. outbound was 6 passenger through chase ur, and 1 directly with Alaska.
Outbound was cancelled. Placed on a stopover flight departing 7 hours later.
Called. Offered callback in 15 mins.
Refunded all the outbound tickets to “original payment method”.
1) does this entitle me to get a refund for return, even though it was bought separately?
2) will my ur points be redeposited automatically, or do I have to do something?
Did not contact chase at all.
TIA

Wolf Sender

Delta canceled my 4/1 flight from jfk to fll I called them at first I was told that I was rebooked as follows jfk-Boston-Bos-atl-Fll for the same day after I stopped laughing and said I want a refund I was told “sorry your ticket is a non refundable and we will give u credit I insisted I know federal dot regs She kept on telling me that these r extraordinary times and that rule doesn’t work I insisted I want to speak to a supervisor after a 3 minute hold she came back and told me that a supervisor authorized her to refund me. This is how they take advantage of people who don’t know. How disgusting!!!!

Lev

Had 5 basic economy tickets on Delta NY to Denver For April 7 -20. They changed the schedule couple times.
Called Delta couple days ago at 1am and got thru to an agent immediately. Gave full refund with no issues. Said refund will take from 7 to 21 days. I got it in 2 days.

MDH

On hold with JetBlue for 45 min…spoke nice said I dont want the new flights which was 5 hours earlier…she said trying times I’ll give you a future credit I said politely no I want a refund….she said she cant… I said dot and pointed to JetBlue’s contract of carriage which says….its the customer’s options if said carrier cancels the flight….she was insisting only a future credit…i said supervisor please….she said 15 minutes till …I said so where else am I going…..she came back that the supervisor approved refund back to the card…..dont give up on jet blue…if they cancel it’s on their contract of carriage that it is your choice…. good shabbos

Bracha

Jet blue still won’t refund since my flight was changed less than 2 hours, still waiting to see what will happen in a week or so

Need the money

What about travel agents? The airlines are willing to refund the flight but theyre saying that we need to get it through the travel agent which is only offering a partial refund or credit.
(Justfly)

Bonnie Kurnick

After filing a complaint with the DOT and calling my credit card company to contest the charges ( this is after 3 VERY long calls to UA in the past couple of weeks!)…..I just called and they are issuing a refund….finally some satisfaction!!

Katie Schwarz

I had an air Canada flight from YUL-CUN and they are refusing a refund, so issued a credit. What are you hearing in regards to travel into Mexico? What is the government run agency called so I can look into what they’re enforcing? Thanks!

Alan

Air canada is the worst costumer service ever.
They don’t want to give me even the credit to fly in the future.

Frank Smith

The DOT’s relaxed enforcement actions because of COVID-19 mean you will spend a lot of time on the phone and you won’t see your money for a long time if the airline fights you on this due to their cash crunch getting worse. You can’t sue based upon this in small claims because the rule came from federal jurisdiction (DoT). You have to sue in federal court. So I would not be giving airlines any new cash and fight hard on the phone now if you need to refund.

DT

Called AA for a cancelled flight with another flight 5 hours later.
Refund processed without questions but I was offered 20% bonus if choosing a voucher. Declined as I already have $2k credit with AA.

A

Shavua tov Dan. AA cancelled my flight but rebooked me within an hour keeping within the hour rule. Will I have a hard time getting a refund for this as DoT refund regulations are for involuntary cancellations?

Eduardo

Does the refund apply if I was the one who canceled the flight due to the CoVid19 concerns?

Yankel

Takeh what about El Al?
They are not operating. No one to talk to
And like a different comment said, so what if they get fined? Govt will bail them out anyway
It’s like insurance companies

They insure insure insure collect premiums up to Wazu and then when something big happen, they close up shop and file bankruptcy. And obviously never pay out.

Southwest not refunding

What if the flight is not cancelled but your state has a stay at home directive with fines up to $5000 for non essential travel? (Maryland)

ehad

what about tickets bought through a travel agent, the travel agent only wants to give a credit, what can i do?

David

What if they didn’t and Don’t cancel flight for this Tuesday to ny from lax. Paid Ur points.
Ur wants to give credit from united only in voucher!

yitchok

Air Canada gave me full cash refund on my Pesach flight to Israel, no problem.

Yitz

Forgive me if I’m mistaken but I think this link for the DOT complaint is not good, it takes me to some old article of yours…
The correct link is https://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm

Yitz

Iberia said they’d give me a refund after I mentioned the DoT and threatened a complaint and credit card dispute but they wouldn’t refund the $25 per passenger phone booking fee so I just disputed it. Waiting for verdict.
I didn’t accept any refund from them out of fear that it would constitute an agreement to forfeit the $25, was that wise?

Meme

Quick question, flights on Brussels US/Israel booked on Travelocity. Brussels said deal with Travelocity (and now no longer answers the phone), Travelocity (only returned call the day of the flight) said Brussels is only offering rebooking and then sent an email with rebooking offer.

My credit card was very cooperative in reversing the charges (at least temporarily)…

Should I still file a DOT complaint?

Thanks Dan!

rena

My round trip flight was united from IL to US and Austrian from US to IL. My Austrian flight was cancelled so I cancelled my united flight. Anything I can do?

Juls

Frontier refuses refunds as well. I booked January this year. I cancelled it myself, my decision not to fly because of pandemic.and cruise trip was cancelled as well. Frontier offered to flight credit 90 days. That’s all they could offer. I want refund.

R laine

Jet blue refunded me today for a cancelled flight (after I told them they legally had to based on this post! Ty)

Er

Booked a turkish flight tlv to ewr through student universe, as of now they’re only issuing a credit, hopefully I’ll get a refund

Josh

Southwest refused a refund on a cancelled flight. They automatically rebooked me instead. I called and asked for a refund which they refused. I had a flight coming up in Aug so I just moved the funds to that flight but still…

Mark E

I booked my airfare thru a travel agent because they had much better rates and availability vs booking directly w/ the airline. I guess they buy tickets in advance, in bulk. Half my credit card was charged under the airline and half (which was the fee) charged under the TA company. I’m getting a refund because the flight has been cancelled, but the refund from the TA is being refused. They are only offering a credit. Are TA required to also give me a refund?

Chanie

Was booked Turkish to Israel with Chase ultimate rewards points and balance on Sapphire Reserve. Chase says that Turkish is offering flight credit so that is what they are doing. The credit is useless – it is specific to the named passenger for the amount of the ticket and travel must be completed by December, so it won’t cover us for next Pesach and if we fly at a cheaper time of year we lose the balance and can’t use it for another family member. I said DOT requires refunds and Chase supervisor said that a flight credit counts as a refund. Is this accurate?

Chanie

Pretty sure what Chase said is not true. I wish I had seen this before my 8 hours on hold … https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/2020-04/Enforcement%20Notice%20Final%20April%203%202020.pdf

cheryl Broth

I agree with Chani- see my story below…

Jim Lewis

Air Tahiti Nui is refusing to refund ticket prices. Offering instead a credit that is good for less than one year from the date of travel (instead, they are offering 1 year from when they cancelled it 3/31).

They are citing their Conditions of Carraige “11.6.3 The Carrier may refuse to refund a ticket if the Carrier’s failure to provide carriage in accordance with the contract of carriage is due to a government security directive.”

I have filed a complaint with the DOT.

Ostoich Liz

I have the same issue with Air Tahiti Nui. Were you able to get a refund?

Jim Lewis

No, they are still refusing to issue refunds. They say they are willing to work with me on how long the credit is good for but will not give any specifics on that. Just to contact them when I’m ready to rebook and they’ll let me know if they’ll still honor the credit.

Jill

Unfortunately, I booked my LAX-Tahiti flight via Orbitz which only lengthened the time trying to resolve since my 3 separate calls were all lip service (not to mention the time wasted being on hold from 1/2 hour to an hour per call). Call #1,#2 – they would contact ATN for a refund; Call #3 – they put in an email that the reason I am not getting a refund is because the Fr. Polynesian government cancelled the flight. What??? This is one of the DOT stipulations requiring that a refund should be granted!!! My next step was to fill out the on-line DOT form (did in May) and I also called my credit card company. ATN has just disputed the refund on my credit card. Here we go again…
Air Tahiti Nui wants to wear us down – please don’t stop being persistent in receiving the refund you legally deserve if they cancelled your flight and complain to the DOT.

MAL

I had tickets on El-Al for March 19 at 6:00pm. ElAL cancelled that flight and rebooked me on 9:50 pm flight. I booked and paid thru Chase points. Chase will not give me a refund (neither points or dollars). They say I can only get that through ElAl (even though they are aware of the DOT law, that only applies to the airline). They said the best they can do for me is to send me an email confirming that I have a credit for one year from my date of purchase.
Any point in trying to get through to EL-Al for a refund?

Yd

What happens if I cancelled my flight prior to the airline cancelling – am I still eligible for a refund?

Valentin

I followed the excellent pieces of advice here and I got full cash refund: flight to Puerto Rico, one of the flight legs was rescheduled by 2.5 hours, used this to ask cash refund. Airline = American, booking via Chase Travel.

Barry A SIEGEL

ElAL canceled our children’s flight from Israel to US and back.
I filed a complaint with them – but they are closed their customer care.
I am owed $5200
I also filed a dispute with my credit card Barclays Mastercard hoping to get credit since I paid for these tickets in February.

Thanks, I just filed a complaint with the US DOT.

ELAL will eventually return and credit I hope & pray.

cheryl Broth

Brussels cancelled our flight. Got out tickets using chase sapphire points. Brussels offered us a voucher. I called Chase and they told me since it was nonrefundable ticket all we can get is a voucher. They cancelled we did not. How do I get the points back?.

cheryl Broth

Just to follow up. I called Chase again and armed with all of the information that Dan posted, when they said- “Sorry ma’am these are nonrefundable tickets you can only get vouchers.” I said, well actually I am on the DOT web-sight and and it says that if the airline cancelled even if the trip tickets were nonrefundable since Brussels cancelled I get a refund.” “Oh I did not know that. I will have to look that up-wow I don’t see their policy if they cancel. I will call Brussels.” She calls Brussels who says send us a letter asking for a refund. Well she is not allowed to send emails so I am connected to another agent who sent the email and hopefully we get the refund. My point- after having the same conversation within a weeks time- but the second time telling them they are mistaken in the sweetest of tones and the DOT says I get a refund, they were willing to figure things out….

Woo Jin

Just an fyi.. its been over 21 days and while Delta mentioned they would issue an refund, they have yet to process one.. and cannot provide me a timeline on when the refund will occur. I have to believe that most people still have not received any compensation back from the airlines yet.

Shmuel Fru

I booked my tickets through Amex Traval. And Amex Traval is not letting me dispute it any suggestions?

JsJ

I have just filed a complaint with DOT for Air Serbia not responding to my requests for a refund on my scheduled flights to Israel that were canceled by the airline. Awaiting now their response.

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