Claiming Refund On Flight Cancellation – How To Get Your Money Back
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic early this year and still going on, many airlines had no choice but to slash their flight schedules and park their fleets, thus, leading to hundreds and thousands of flight cancellations and significant schedule changes. Passengers have also had to either postpone or cancel their travel, which has, indeed, affected many.
This has further led airlines to process refunds & claiming refunds on flight cancellation. You are entitled to a refund for your cancelled flight. But just because you are legally entitled to one, doesn’t mean that an airline is in a rush to give your money back. Travellers know that they should wait until the last minute before cancelling their flight to increase the odds they will get a refund.
Even then, airlines are going to great lengths to avoid giving your money back. It is also seen that airlines try to persuade passengers to instead, accept vouchers or future travel credit schemes, while a few airlines even announced that they were temporarily suspending the ability to offer refunds to their passengers.
In this guide, we shall take a look at flight cancellation refunds and also provide you with necessary solutions on how to get refund for a cancelled flight.
Know these Things about Flight Cancellation Refund
Although very rare, there may occur unpredictable situations where airline carriers are compelled to delay or even cancel their scheduled flights, thus, affecting both the aviation industry and passengers. Get the best deals & discounts on flight ticket cancellation and refund.
There is a possibility to claim refund in the event your flight is cancelled by the airline carrier for reasons that are beyond their control. In such a situation, the airline may usually take a few days’ time or even weeks to a certain extent. It may also happen that a passenger may wish to cancel his or her flight, for which, there is an opportunity to claim refund, however, the passenger is also bound to the airline’s policy. Also, passengers are required to contact the customer service centre and authorities and making requests for refunds. This may take some time, which can range from a few days to weeks or even a month.
If your flight happens to get cancelled, you can request a full refund, even if you have booked a non-refundable ticket, instead of being re-routed on another flight. However, when the flight is cancelled for reasons beyond the airline’s control, they may waive their obligation to offer a refund. This happens in situations, like bad weather conditions, air traffic control restrictions, security reasons, etc.
Generally, when your flight is cancelled, the airline will immediately rebook you on a different flight. If this travel arrangement suits you, then there is no need for you to do anything, but to take the new flight. However, you will not get a refund. If the new travel arrangement is not suitable for you, then you can get in touch with the airline and ask a refund instead.
Refunds are usually given in the form of cash, credit to a credit card, or a voucher that can be used at a later date, if you agree with this option. You can also get a refund for a flight delay.
Getting a Refund for a Schedule Change
A schedule change is quite similar to a flight cancellation with a rebooking on a different flight. When the airline updates their flight schedule, your flight could end up with a different departure and/or arrival time. It could even include an unplanned connection, or modify the length of a planned layover i.e. making it either shorter or a lengthy one. In such cases, you may be eligible for a refund.
However, keep in mind that if the airline modifies your flight schedule by a few minutes only, you are unlikely to get a refund if you claim it. Thus, you will need to be extra careful when the airline notifies you of a change of a flight schedule, especially if your itinerary includes a connecting flight. You need to ensure that you will still have enough time to catch your connecting flight. Usually, the airline will inform you if your schedule change qualifies for a refund. You will have to claim the full refund yourself. To do so, you simply need to get in touch with the airline immediately i.e. preferably by phone rather than e-mail and request a refund.
Getting your Money Back if You Cancel your Flight
This may not be possible. If you did not purchase a refundable ticket, you cannot get your money back when you cancel your flight past the deadline planned by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) or the airline, if their policy is more favourable.
Getting a Refund if Non-Refundable Flight is Cancelled
In the United States, it is possible to get a refund if your non-refundable flight is cancelled, but there is a criteria that must be met. The only guaranteed chance that you could receive a refund for your non-refundable flight is, if the flight is cancelled or subject to a major schedule change. In that case, you may indeed get your flight ticket refunded. Keep in mind that in order to be eligible for such reimbursement, you will still need to have checked-in for the flight.
So, if you have a non-refundable ticket for a flight that you cannot take, you might still want to check-in, just in case the flight is cancelled at the last minute, or subject to a schedule change. Unless the DOT’s 24 hours rule applies.
Getting a Refund on a Non-Refundable Airfare
Generally, there are hefty fees that needs to be paid in order to modify or cancel you booking for non-refundable flight tickets. In the United States, flight change and cancellation fees can go as high as $200 for domestic airfares and $750 for international airfares.
That being said, there are a few tricks that you can use to get a refund to cancel your flight. The refund will take the form of either a flight change or credit for a future flight – a voucher.
Free Cancellation within 24 hours of Booking
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued the 24-hour reservation requirement, which requires airline carriers to hold a reservation at the quoted fare for 24 hours without payment or allow a reservation to be cancelled within 24 hours without penalty. This free cancellation with 24 hours of booking policy applies to flight tickets for travel within, from, or to the United States only. For other countries, there may be a different policy.
Thus, if you cancel your booking within 24 hours after the reservation was made, you are entitled to a full refund of your flight ticket, without cancellation fees. The rule is, however, applicable only if your flight departure is at least 7 days away. A few U.S. airline carriers have even more advantageous policies than what is required by the DOT.
Claiming Your Refund on a Cancelled Flight
Due to a rise in the flight change and cancellations, there are many individuals seeking the best way to get a refund for their following flights. Thus, the first thing to do is to be patient and wait until the airline cancels or significantly reschedules your flight. Only then will you qualify for a refund for your non-refundable ticket. If you are flying with American or United, it is advised that you should request your refund online on their official websites. You may also call their customer service centre to assist you.
However, if an airline violates the policy of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) by refusing to provide you a refund, then simply hang up the call and try attempting another callback. If this does not do you any good, then you should consider filing a credit card chargeback, as well as a formal complaint with the DOT.
More passengers will be entitled to refunds, for as long as several airlines continue to cancel their flights. In a turn of events, Spirit’s been the fastest to process refunds. Of the legacy carriers, Delta Airlines and United have been the slowest. Either way, it pays to know when you will get your money back.