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enilria
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Posts: 10195
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Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Wed Apr 08, 2020 2:11 pm

I understand the desperation on the part of airlines, but this is basic contract law. The airline's own Contract of Carriage stated that a customer was entitled to a refund if the airline cancelled their flight at the time of purchase. You don't get to rewrite a contract after you have already taken a customer's money. That is fundamental to the rule of the law in the United States. Tough luck airlines...

Additionally, this would encourage people to fly in dangerous conditions to avoid getting stuck with a travel credit.

Finally, here are the federal laws on gift cards:
Federal Gift Card Law
Thanks to the federal Credit CARD Act of 2009, gift certificates and store gift cards can't expire for five years.

If an airline doesn't allow you a refund and forces you a credit (identical to a gift card) are they allowed to let it expire in less than 5 years which is required by gift card laws? Plus, it's even worse because they are forcing a gift card on a customer who didn't buy one.

Airlines are again pleading for government assistance, only this time, they want a break from some federal regulations instead of financial aid.

A global industry group warns that many of the world's airlines are running out of money and on the brink of financial collapse and therefore they cannot afford to give customers refunds for canceled flights.

Regulations in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere require airlines to fully refund fares paid by customers when the airline cancels their flight.

But instead of honoring their obligation to give refunds, many airlines have only been offering vouchers and credits for future travel, which customers often must use before the end of the year.

"The obligation of airlines to provide refunds, including the ticket price and any optional fee charged for services a passenger is unable to use, does not cease when the flight disruptions are outside of the carrier's control," the department said in a statement.

It's important to note, though, that airlines are not obligated to provide refunds to people who cancel their own travel plans, which is a common situation many would be travelers find themselves in.

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/07/829091394/airlines-want-to-cancel-rule-requiring-them-to-refund-fares-for-canceled-flights?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=nprblogscoronavirusliveupdates
Last edited by SQ22 on Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Title updated after merging threads
 
Miamiairport
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Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:14 pm

Re: Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Wed Apr 08, 2020 2:52 pm

There are some stores that will only give a store credit for something returned, essentially what the airlines want to do. The airlines of course are claiming survival mode and given 5% to 10% load factors they are. Setting aside the fact that rather than build cash reserves they bought back stock like mad men.

If the previous decade taught us anything is that's at least here in the US the government will keep breathing into the corpse of an otherwise dead airline until it comes alive again-or at least allow it to merge with another near dead airline. I don't expect to see anything different this time around.
 
usflyer msp
Posts: 3722
Joined: Tue May 23, 2000 11:50 am

Re: Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Wed Apr 08, 2020 3:07 pm

Miamiairport wrote:
There are some stores that will only give a store credit for something returned, essentially what the airlines want to do.


That is not the same thing at all. When you buy an item at a store, the contract is complete when you walk away with the item. The fact that you don't want it anymore at later time is not the retailers issue.

In air travel, you are paying in advance for transportation between two points. If the airline cancels flights and is unable to provide the product paid for, they have not completed their part of the contract and must refund.

The closest retail analogy would a store charging you for an item in backorder and then refusing to refund when they are unable to deliver the item. No retailer would do that. Airlines are not special.
 
MIflyer12
Posts: 7794
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Wed Apr 08, 2020 3:08 pm

enilria wrote:
A global industry group warns that many of the world's airlines are running out of money and on the brink of financial collapse and therefore they cannot afford to give customers refunds for canceled flights.


That was de Juniac and the IATA. I don't know if U.S. carriers have accepted their medicine from the DOT's enforcement order of 4/3/20.

Delta, for one, still cites in its domestic C of C a cancellation or 90 minute delay as qualifying for a refund of the unused fare. Like you said, this is basic contract law. DOT enforcement orders on refunds go back to at least 1996.

https://www.delta.com/content/dam/delta ... dl-dgr.pdf

If there is a flight cancellation, diversion, delay of greater than 90 minutes, or that will cause a
passenger to miss connections, Delta will (at passenger’s request) cancel the remaining ticket
and refund the unused portion of the ticket and unused ancillary fees in the original form of
payment in accordance with Rule 22.


Maybe the DOT will show it stills has balls; maybe the DOT will be overridden by Congressional action.
 
MIflyer12
Posts: 7794
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Wed Apr 08, 2020 3:10 pm

usflyer msp wrote:
Miamiairport wrote:
There are some stores that will only give a store credit for something returned, essentially what the airlines want to do.


That is not the same thing at all. When you buy an item at a store, the contract is complete when you walk away with the item. The fact that you don't want it anymore at later time is not the retailers issue.


It's the retailer's problem if they have a published policy allowing me to return an item in 30 or 90 days. And that's the thing: certain carrier contracts of carriage under which I may have bought a ticket allow a refund for cancellation or schedule change.
 
IPFreely
Posts: 2585
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:26 am

Re: Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Wed Apr 08, 2020 5:35 pm

usflyer msp wrote:
The closest retail analogy would a store charging you for an item in backorder and then refusing to refund when they are unable to deliver the item. No retailer would do that.


I don't think you deal with very many retailers.
 
steveinbc
Posts: 315
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2015 4:30 pm

Re: Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:59 pm

In Canada, the Minister for Transport provided its interpretation on the recently introduced Passenger Rights Laws, by stating it believed that a full credit for a minimum of 24 months is acceptable
This is clearly a case of Force Majeure for the airline industry and to expect "normal " business practices to continue is neither realistic nor fair.
All airlines are now offering changes at no cost and cancellations without penalties...so that is a fair balance in my view
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L410Turbolet
Posts: 6224
Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 9:12 am

Re: Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Wed Apr 08, 2020 9:05 pm

The thing is, airlines are not being reasonable. I have a reservation with KLM to the US next week. The reservation now exists only under the reservation code, all flights (6 segments) have been cancelled. Generally speaking, I have no problem with vouchers as a way to let the airlines keep the cash they desperately need..., HOWEVER they fail to show any goodwill towards their customers given the extraordinary circumstances: voucher valid just for 12 months, non-transferrable and any remaining value to be forfeited should the future purchase be of a lower value simply is not a customer friendly approach.
 
usflyer msp
Posts: 3722
Joined: Tue May 23, 2000 11:50 am

Re: Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:03 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
usflyer msp wrote:
Miamiairport wrote:
There are some stores that will only give a store credit for something returned, essentially what the airlines want to do.


That is not the same thing at all. When you buy an item at a store, the contract is complete when you walk away with the item. The fact that you don't want it anymore at later time is not the retailers issue.


It's the retailer's problem if they have a published policy allowing me to return an item in 30 or 90 days. And that's the thing: certain carrier contracts of carriage under which I may have bought a ticket allow a refund for cancellation or schedule change.


My point is that a return policy is optional. Accepting payment and refusing to fulfill the contract nor refund the payment is called fraud.
 
usflyer msp
Posts: 3722
Joined: Tue May 23, 2000 11:50 am

Re: Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:07 pm

steveinbc wrote:
In Canada, the Minister for Transport provided its interpretation on the recently introduced Passenger Rights Laws, by stating it believed that a full credit for a minimum of 24 months is acceptable
This is clearly a case of Force Majeure for the airline industry and to expect "normal " business practices to continue is neither realistic nor fair.
All airlines are now offering changes at no cost and cancellations without penalties...so that is a fair balance in my view


Force Majeure means you don't have to fulfill the contract, it does not mean you keep to keep the customers money.
 
Delta777Jet
Posts: 1453
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2000 6:19 am

Re: Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:52 am

Well , Air Canada canceled my reservation from Europe to the United States and offered me a 24 month voucher . If I book a flight with them in the future which is cheaper the remaining money will be lost ! Well this is not a deal and I’ve advised them about the EU rule EC261 which clearly states : If the carrier is canceling the flights for any reason out of there control they have to refund the ticket. I’ve told them and they told me that the Canadian Travel Agency ( who ever that is ) told them not to refund. I’ve talked to my credit card company about the matter and the are refunding me the money because Air Canada has no right to keep my money !
I still miss Trans World Airlines and the L-1011
 
upperdeckfan
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Re: Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:05 am

Delta777Jet wrote:
Well , Air Canada canceled my reservation from Europe to the United States and offered me a 24 month voucher . If I book a flight with them in the future which is cheaper the remaining money will be lost ! Well this is not a deal and I’ve advised them about the EU rule EC261 which clearly states : If the carrier is canceling the flights for any reason out of there control they have to refund the ticket. I’ve told them and they told me that the Canadian Travel Agency ( who ever that is ) told them not to refund. I’ve talked to my credit card company about the matter and the are refunding me the money because Air Canada has no right to keep my money !


EC261 isn't been fullfilled either, LH group is offering rebookings to fly no later than 03/31/21 and AF/KL I think is just a little bit more flexible. I am currently fighting LH as I'm booked FRA-YVR in late May. With the uncertainty about how the pandemic will evolve I badly want my money back.
748,744,742,741,772,773,762,763,
764, 789, 732,733,735,737,738,739,
752, 722, 717,74M,DC10,DC9,M82,
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berari
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Airlines not refunding tickets, offering vouchers

Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:57 am

I recall reading about the US DOT requiring airlines to refund customers flying within/to/from US, instead of simply offering vouchers for use over an extended period. Yet I see airlines still showing the voucher only option with free rebooking. I am observing this right now with a trip I am canceling with American, withe only option being "There's no need to call Reservations right now. You can cancel your trip and use the value of your unused ticket toward future travel on American."

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattperez/ ... 9a1a046bb0

Are airlines not complying? Or if they are, what's the route I should take to get a refund from American? American is seldom if ever convenient for me to fly with, except for this route I had booked and don't expect to complete again in the future.
 
berari
Posts: 902
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Re: Airlines not refunding tickets, offering vouchers

Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:59 am

 
mjgbtv
Posts: 1034
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:18 am

Re: Airlines not refunding tickets, offering vouchers

Sun Apr 19, 2020 1:48 pm

berari wrote:
I recall reading about the US DOT requiring airlines to refund customers flying within/to/from US, instead of simply offering vouchers for use over an extended period. Yet I see airlines still showing the voucher only option with free rebooking. I am observing this right now with a trip I am canceling with American, withe only option being "There's no need to call Reservations right now. You can cancel your trip and use the value of your unused ticket toward future travel on American."

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattperez/ ... 9a1a046bb0

Are airlines not complying? Or if they are, what's the route I should take to get a refund from American? American is seldom if ever convenient for me to fly with, except for this route I had booked and don't expect to complete again in the future.


You say "I am canceling" but the enforcement notice only appears to cover flights that the airline cancels. Different situations, different rules, I think.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 5669
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Sun Apr 19, 2020 2:06 pm

I cancelled an AA ticket for next month (niece’s wedding cancelled) and was paid in about one week.
 
berari
Posts: 902
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:47 pm

Re: Airlines not refunding tickets, offering vouchers

Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:47 pm

mjgbtv wrote:
berari wrote:
I recall reading about the US DOT requiring airlines to refund customers flying within/to/from US, instead of simply offering vouchers for use over an extended period. Yet I see airlines still showing the voucher only option with free rebooking. I am observing this right now with a trip I am canceling with American, withe only option being "There's no need to call Reservations right now. You can cancel your trip and use the value of your unused ticket toward future travel on American."

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattperez/ ... 9a1a046bb0

Are airlines not complying? Or if they are, what's the route I should take to get a refund from American? American is seldom if ever convenient for me to fly with, except for this route I had booked and don't expect to complete again in the future.


You say "I am canceling" but the enforcement notice only appears to cover flights that the airline cancels. Different situations, different rules, I think.


The airline rebooked me to a flight that no longer works for me. So looking to cancel as a result.

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
I cancelled an AA ticket for next month (niece’s wedding cancelled) and was paid in about one week.


At what point did it give you the option of voucher vs getting paid out, if that was an option?
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 5669
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:55 pm

Was not an option I saw, but was going right for the refund, so I could have missed it. It’s going to cheaper when travel opens up again.
 
ben175
Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:44 pm

Re: Airlines Ask to Cancel Rule Requiring Refunds When They Cancel

Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:00 pm

I have a flight on TG DPS-BKK-LHR and they've gradually changed/cancelled all sectors of my flight without ANY information on what to do except "contact our call centre team" - that's great except for the fact they've all been stood down in Australia! I emailed weeks ago and still have no response. There's not even a way to transfer the booking into a credit online because my departure date is after May 31 (June 23). Ridiculous.

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