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Cash, Credit or Coronavirus? Don’t Let Airlines Dictate Your Refund

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.

Writer / Photographer at TravelCoterie | + posts

Eric has revolved in and out of passport controls for over 20 years. From his first archaeological field school in Belize to rural villages in Ethiopia and Buddhist temples in Laos, Eric has come smile to smile with all walks of life. A writer, photographer and entrepreneur, the LA native believes the power of connectivity and community is enriched through travel.

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