• Click CONTACT US in the footer if you have any problems registering for the forums.

Re-Booking VS Refunding?

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
Are we all now regretting have paid varying sums of money for travel insurance, only to find out that it's useless under the circumstances when you're most likely to need it? I'm feeling both mad and sad that the fine print always seems to be in favor of the big guy. And yes, I acknowledge the fact that by buying those tours, hotel rooms, airfares, etc, that I AM agreeing to THEIR rules. I get it. I knew "they" would come out okay, and I accepted their terms - until I realized how really skewed the terms are.

We recently booked a package vacation. It was an impulse buy, something that we'd never considered doing, but when I received an email for NYC, then a transatlantic cruise, then London, I jumped on it. My two favorite cities in the whole world!!! And we could afford to see Hamilton in London! And then it all fell apart, and the travel agency is returning my money as such:
  • a voucher from United for the value of our domestic flight to NYC. Unless United changes the rule, I'll be allowed to "change" this flight without a penalty or fee, but I'll probably have to use it within a year. I'm hoping that means I can book something on day 364, then still have another year to fly. We'll see.
  • another voucher from United for the cost of our TA airfare from London to Tampa. Same questions as above.
  • Our choice of a full refund OR 125% credit towards a cruise, good until December 2022. Generous, maybe, but the chances of us taking another cruise, especially with a specific cruises line, are slim - so we took the 100% refund It'll just go back on our credit card
  • From the travel agency who put all this together, a credit for the balance that covered the ground transportation, land tours and hotels, valid for one year. the chances of us using this are really, really low. Am I wrong to feel that I got the short end of this stick? I think it's about $1300 for both of us. I'm sure there's no way we'll ever get a refund, but I'd like to write an email to the company and ask for one.
As for our plans for August, we'd originally planned to fly to DC, then to Dublin for a tour, then on to Italy. I've already booked the flight from Washington DC to Dublin through Vayama, so of course they'd have to cancel it for me, and I would acquire even more vouchers to United Airlines - which is NOT my airline of choice! (All of our FF miles are with American). The flight is on August 5, and if you'd asked me two weeks ago I'd have said I felt reasonably confident we'd be able to go. Today I have serious doubts. Although the small-group tour we've booked is still scheduled, I have the right to cancel with a 100% refund up until X number of days before the tour. We're not close to that date.

Are you all scrambling to cancel stuff? Or are you re-scheduling rather than re-cancelling? If so, you're probably not nearly as stressed as I am, thinking of all these vouchers that have to used within a finite period. If the vouchers are good from one year from the date the flight was originally purchased, (January), the longer it takes to be "safe" to fly, the shorter my window to use the airfare! We'll each have potentially $1100!

And on top of all this, the idea of not getting to Italy at all this year is really upsetting. First world problems, yes, but thanks for letting me vent.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
We were unlucky because we were on a trip when everything changed and we paid to fly back early.

But we are lucky because I have no other trips booked. Normally I would have booked 2 - 3 weeks in Italy in May/June but we couldn’t make up our minds about it.

I do have a booking for an apartment for 3 weeks in Switzerland for September but we pay on arrival so I won’t lose a deposit if we have to cancel.

John Oliver has a segment where he gave you 30 seconds to bitch about something that has been cancelled so I screamed at the TV with my anger at losing the Israel trip.
 

Callie

10+ Posts
We have until April 2021 to rebook our plane ticket. All the accommodations are being, well, accommodating. So no loss there. Train tickets in England are another thing. I could get a refund if I rebooked the train travel, but I don't know exactly when I want to travel except that it will be 2021 and that's too far our to buy train tickets anyway. So that will be a loss. And, of course, we had travel insurance, so that's another loss since, unless one of us gets sick, we get nothing.
 

Andrew

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
We have both a domestic and international trip to cancel, with all the flights booked on some form of points or miles, and both trips with the two directions booked on different programs. To California next week, JetBlue promptly redeposited the points without penalty; I'm waiting to see if the charge for extra-legroom seats refunds to the credit card. The return out of San Francisco was booked on United mostly with Chase Ultimate Rewards points and a small part in money; as far as United is concerned, it's a paid ticket. With more than ten days to go, I'm waiting to see if United cancels the flight, in which case we should be able to get a refund, although they're pushing not to give back cash and instead give travel credit. This refund would mostly be a reinstatement of Chase points. If we cancel before the airline does, it would be travel credit to be used within a year, and I need to look into how that year is interpreted.

Sadly we need to get ready to cancel Italy and Croatia in April-May. For the outbound on Iberia, although it's generally a problem to deal with them on the phone even in good times, it's reported there's a way to get through quickly by saying "Avios booking" at the prompt and having account number, confirmation code, and passport numbers handy, to get points reinstated at worst for a €25 fee, although one can argue about that when the routing is changed. Right now the Iberia site asks me to accept a 5-minute change on the original booking, but when one searches for a flight (new booking) there's no longer the Boston-Madrid flight, only Boston-London-Madrid-Rome.

The return was booked with United miles on Croatia and Lufthansa airlines. I'm waiting to see what waivers or cancellations will happen for that mid-May time.
 

Andrew

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
I'm hoping that means I can book something on day 364, then still have another year to fly.
United's general waiver says "If the customer decides to cancel their flight, they can retain the value of the ticket to be applied to a new ticket without fee for travel up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date." I think the key part here is "for travel": the travel needs to be done within 12 months of the ticket issue date.
 

SuzanneF

10+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
We also booked flights with United for end of May. I haven't tried calling yet because I know that there are people with more urgent needs at this time. However, I also read that part saying "up to 12 months from the original ticket date." If that is truly the case, we purchased our tickets last July 25, so I interpret that as meaning we would have to begin our travel by that date. At this point, not sure if that will even be feasible. So, for now, just hanging tight and hoping they will cancel our flights and their cancellation will give us a little more flexibility with future travel times.
 

Andrew

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
The general rule that I see with airlines is that travel on funds from a cancelled trip needs to be completed by the expiration date.
 

Andrew

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
It looks like I can correct myself at least on United's general waiver, which has just been updated to go through April: https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/notices.html . If the original ticket was issued on or before March 2:
  • New tickets must be reissued on/before December 31, 2020 or 12 months from original ticket date, whichever is earlier
  • Rebooked travel must commence within 12 months from the original ticket issue date
 

Jim Zurer

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Here is an article from the Washington Post about the issue...

How to cancel your flight during the coronavirus outbreak

I am sure that my flight from Newark to Milan on April 26 will be canceled but, as the article recommends, I am waiting for United to cancel so I hopefully can get a refund rather than the credit if I canceled or changed my flight myself. I bought the ticket last September so I would have a limited window to rebook and would be responsible for any change in fare (unless I rebooked to the same cities before June 30.)
 

GailS

100+ Posts
KLM is offering free change of tickets or a voucher for a future flight that is good up to a year from the issue date (last date to apply being 9/30/2020). I had initially hoped my trip to Italy in July was not going be be impacted but now I'm suspecting I won't be going. Even if things in Italy are better by then I'm not sure if they will allow foreigners from countries that are still seriously impacted.
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
I just don't see how I'll be able to use $675 worth of airfare on United only, before jan, 2021. That's $1350 for 2 of us, lost. Plus another $1300 for our travel agent's credit, which we'll almost assuredly NOT use. $2650 total. I guess it could be worse - and it might be <sigh>
 

Andrew

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
On United's link in my previous post in this thread, the waiver of change fees now covers travel booked through May.

As some sources such as here in View from the Wing show, United's position, at least for international flights, is that if they cancel the flight, they can legally hold the funds until the passenger waits out the year's expiration, and then refund the money.

My quick look at FlyerTalk would indicate that United hasn't waived the rules on cancelling award trips: if we cancel our award out of Croatia, we have a fee to redeposit the miles, and it's higher because it's within 60 days, but there is a loophole where we could first change it to a date beyond 60 days, and then cancel with a lower redeposit fee.
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
@Andrew , I searched American's site to see if fees for redepositing miles were waived, but couldn't find anything, so I called. I spoke with a real person after a very short wait, and was told that yes, the fees to redeposit miles was waived. When I commented that I couldn't find any information on the subject, I was told that in order to redeposit miles after a FF ticket is canceled, you have to call The FF desk anyway.

I certainly wouldn't have known that before this crisis, but it certainly seems like something they might want to post online. I guess if you cancel a flight booked with FF miles and just assume your miles will be redeposited you'd be wrong, and just lose the miles.
 

Andrew

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
When I cancelled an award trip on American in 2018, the only way to cancel was by phone, and they said then that there was an option to hold the award by ticket number (the string of numbers starting with 001, not the 6-character confirmation code) until the award expired a year after booking. If we didn't foresee using the award before the expiration, we'd need to pay a redeposit fee. (That's one drawback of jumping to book an award right at the 11-month mark.) In fact on that call I changed the award to one set of dates, then was able to change it to earlier dates, and change it again to avoid the high fees of gong on British Airways through London. This was all with no administrative fees for the change.
 

Andrew

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
On our flight out of San Francisco booked on United with Chase Ultimate Rewards, the Chase site has a form for cancelling, saying to do it 8-14 days before the flight. Since today is the 8-day mark, I used the form, because it's reportedly a nightmare to get through on the phone. The form no longer had that language and I quickly got an email that the booking was cancelled and we had United credit to use by January 2021. I also need to look into getting back the extra-legroom seat fees we paid directly to United. Since this got done so quickly, I rather wish I'd waited for the week to start and see if the airline cancelled the flight, with the rumors out there about air travel getting completely shut down.
 

Callie

10+ Posts
After waiting it out and having our flight cancelled, Virgin Atlantic just agreed to refund our airfare - a huge relief to me. I had started a claim on our travel insurance for trip cancellation. Since VA is refunding us, I won't need to pursue it, but it seemed that the travel insurance might have paid. One of the things they asked for other than copies of receipts, etc., was a statement that we would not use any voucher issued by the airline.

Now to see if I can get my train fare refunded.

Stay safe.
 

JeannieL

10+ Posts
Our trip was to Paris, 7 day river cruise, 2 weeks in Provence in a rental, and airfare there and back. Our Paris, cruise and airfare will be handled by AMA which booked everything, and we will get a future cruise credit that we can use until Dec 2022. We will definitely get that re-booked. The rental in Provence we will not get back, unless they can re-rent the property for the same period. I check it regularly, and see more time available (which means other cancellations). We do have travel insurance, but of course, the rental wouldn't be covered with the insurance due to the pandemic. It is about E3300, which we have already paid. I am hoping that once we get the initial cruise re-booked, that the rental agency will give us some value toward a new rental. It is an agency that was recommended thru this group, but who would have forseen this kind of event? Would I have paid a ton more for insurance on the chance of a future pandemic, probably not at the time.
 

Allen

10+ Posts
As Andrew implied above, I also found it advantageous to wait for the airline to initiate the cancellation rather than the consumer proactively requesting rebooking or refund.
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
As Andrew implied above, I also found it advantageous to wait for the airline to initiate the cancellation rather than the consumer proactively requesting rebooking or refund.
I agree completely. We have 3 flights in question, and I don't think we have a chance of getting a refund. We'll be extremely lucky to use the value of the airfares before they expire.
  • I'm pretty sure our TPA-EWR flight on Apr 8 won't be cancelled - unless things take a turn for the worse in NYC.
  • Our LHR-TPA flight on Apr 25 hasn't been cancelled yet, and I don't think it will be.
  • Chances our IAD-DUB flight on Aug 5 gets canceled seem really doubtful. I think the market might demand we get back to business as usual way before I think it'll be safe to do so.
All I know is that we won't be on any of those flights,and I have no idea if I'll even feel safe traveling before the vouchers expire!
 

Sponsors

Booking.com Hotels in Europe
AutoEurope.com Car Rentals

New resources

Top