When the COVID-19 pandemic began grounding flights in March, thousands of passengers where offered travel credits by airlines instead of refunds to their debit or credit cards. The move infuriated consumers desperate for cash during a record economic downturn that includes 6.6 million Americans filing for unemployment in the course of three weeks. But don’t let airlines pull a fast one on you: if you purchased a ticket for a now canceled flight, they have to pay you.
According to CBS News travel journalist Peter Greenberg, airlines MUST issue refunds because it’s spelled out in detail on the Department of Transportations website. The language, which you’ll also find on most airlines contract of carriage, reads:
“If your flight is cancelled and you choose to cancel your trip as a result, you are entitled to a refund for the unused transportation – even for non-refundable tickets. You are also entitled to a refund for any bag fee that you paid, and any extras you may have purchased, such as a seat assignment.”
If an airline drags their feet on returning your cash, Greenberg says to write a letter to the Department of Transportation.
For more on the refund versus credit debate, watch our Zoom interview with TravelCoterie’s Kevin Frazier and Mr. Greenberg below.