Airfare Battles

I'm jealous of all of you that I've seen post stories where you got refunds, miles back, etc. 'almost' instantaneously when you requested them. My personal experience is somewhat different. I have three trips in particular that I had/have to deal with due to the pandemic (Not counting a SW trip that we've simply changed the dates on twice with no change fees):

Flight one: Roundtrip on Icelandair business class, Seattle/Reykjavik for the Iceland tour. Once Tauck cancelled I began the process to request a voucher (just a voucher because we rebooked the tour for 2021) on May 6th.
1) First step was to fill out a form on the Icelandair website. Done on May 6th. Received a case number.
2) Not having heard anything, on June 1st I called Icelandair. After having to listen to endless taped messages before you can get to a person, I got to speak with an agent. She reviewed the case and said she'd move it along to the next queue. She said I could sit in that queue for up to 3 weeks.
3) Again, not having heard anything since my call, I called Icelandair again today, the start of the 3rd week since my last call. They had revised their taped messages to make it even more painful to actually get to a person. I prevailed and got a person. She looked into the situation. She asked me to fill out another form on the web. She actually led me through the process. She assured me that I would get the refund within 24-48 hours. I told her that the form she was having me fill out was the same form I completed on May 6th. She disagreed. Anyway we completed our call. In a few minutes I received an automated response from Icelandair assigning me a new case number, with the exact same automated message I received on May 6th. I was accepting this.
4) I called back again, prevailed through the endless taped messages again until I got to a person. I explained the whole process that I had been waiting since May 6th, trying to get a voucher. The agent put me on old to discuss my case with her bosses. She returned after about 5 minutes and assured me that my case was being expedited and that I should receive my voucher within 24-48 hours. I thanked her and then said I needed to do the same thing for my niece who was booked on a separate reservation. I had been doing all of this process for her in lock step. As we started the process for my niece we got cut off. Guess what that means. Call back in and go through this all again with a different agent.
5) I called back, went through all the process again and about 30-40 minutes later I got the same assurance for my niece.
6) Happy ending, finally, my voucher arrive via email about 4 hours after my last call. My niece is at work so I don't know if hers is in her Inbox. I hope so

Flight two: Roundtrip to Seattle for personal trip on American using miles. Had to cancel. The miles were restored within 24 hours and taxes credited to my charge card. Yahoo - This one worked just like the stories lots of you have posted.

Flight three: Pending. I've described this case previously. It is for my roundtrip to/from Cairo on American for the Egypt: Jewels of the Nile tour in October. My routing both directions takes me through Rome. As of right now, my legs to/from Rome to/from the States have been deleted. All other legs of my reservation remain. The outcome of this is pending, to be dealt with assuming Tauck cancels the tour.

Moral of the story: Expect to got to 'war' with Icelandair to received a voucher or refund.


  • I'm still at war with Lufthansa. Sent them a polite but firm e-mail this afternoon, as they told my travel agent to have me deal with them directly.

  • edited June 2020

    I may have posted or shared this via msg, but I have a similar situation with Delta/Air France for our Jan Jordan & Egypt trip. MyDelta on the website and the iPad App show nothing is amiss, however if I try to book the same itinerary on the Delta and AF websites, the AF leg from Paris (CDG) to Amman (AMM) no longer exists. That segment is now being flown by Transavia (a coach-only, low-rent subsidiary of AF/KLM). However, according to the Transavia website, they only fly that route three days a week and not on our flight date! The Delta rep (even with medallion status I had to wait 4 + hours for a call back), couldn't explain it, but said they would straighten it out (but when???). I don't have a lot of faith in that happening any time soon. That is something I need to know, so I can decide whether to go a day earlier or switch airlines. I've been looking at American but I'm not sure I want to fly Cairo to Heathrow on BA or Cairo to Rome on Alitalia. Maybe, for grins, I'll call Delta tonight (see if I get a call back before heading to bed). I suspect any flights after December are subject to change more so than at any time I can remember.

    UPDATE: I'm not talking to anyone from Delta this evening- "We'll call you back in 5 hr and 24 minutes." :o

  • I've always considered the airline industry predatory with zero customer service. Therefore, I give them one chance, then proceed to the charge back with my CC company (obviously you can't do this if you're using Miles). With a charge back, the onus is on the merchant (i.e., the airline) to support their case for not refunding. If they don't respond at all, you get your money back by default.

    So far, I've had 2 trips cancelled:
    Delta was an easy refund via their web site.
    Second one was a bit more complicated, as it was part Miles and part cash on a United flight. I filed a charge back with Chase against Chase Travel (Expedia). My Miles were credited back quickly, but the cash was in limbo took forever. Got my refund relatively soon after filing the charge back.

    I expect to file the third one (American, all Miles) after Tauck's Oct cancellations in August.

  • I agree with Sam, we are at war with all of these companies, from Airlines to Hotels to Credit Card Companies. Do not assume that they have your interests at heart, the reality is far from that. I have been trying to get a refund for my canceled Lufthansa flights since March 9. All of this is documented in a separate discussion under Lufthansa. After a month long string of emails, conversations and lies from Lufthansa, I placed a charge back with my credit card. After an additional two months, I finally received an email from Chase stating the case had been resolved and I now had a credit in my account. On June 1st, I called Chase to request a check be sent to me for the balance in my account as I didn't plan to travel soon and I needed the money. I was assured I would receive an email within 2 days to give me an option of electronic transfer to to have a check mailed to me. I never received the email so I called back on June 5 and was told by the Customer Rep that it takes 7-10 business days (standard line to stall the process) to initiate the check request thru their system. It has now been well over 10 business days and still no e-mail nor check. I called Chase this morning and spoke to a Customer Service Rep who said that my dispute was still in process and that I would need to be transferred to the Dispute Dept , even after I explained to her that I had a letter in writing that the dispute had been resolved. The Dispute Department confirmed that my dispute was resolved and stated they would need to transfer me back to their Customer Care Department to initiate a refund. I relayed my entire story again for the third time and the Rep assured me that the request definitely went thru the system this time and that I may receive an e-mail in 2 days. If I don't receive the e-mail, don't worry (Ha!!!) I will then receive a paper check mailed to me within 10 days.

    I am so frustrated with this entire process and the fact that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing and that all of these companies are using stall measures to delay the process and hope that you just go away silently into the night.

    In summary, once burned with unacceptable customer service, I will no longer work with a company again. Customer Service is everything to me. This is why I love Tauck and will continue to travel with them as their customer service is exceptional. Their word is their bond. I now know 2 facts to be true. I will no longer fly with Lufthansa and once I receive my check from Chase, if I ever do, I will close that account and take my business elsewhere.

  • Travel maven - FWIW, my first airfare refund via Chase (Sapphire Reserve) took several weeks before the check arrived. The second one, I got the same story as you, that an email would arrive in 1-2 days for the EFT option. I never got that email, but the check arrived just a few days later, surprisingly. Rather than calling (and waiting on hold), I've been using Chase's secure messaging on their web site. Besides being more time-effective, everything is documented in writing, so there's less left hand-right hand discombobulation.

  • Thank you BKMD for the feedback. I thought about doing just that, sending a secure message thru their website. I will give this a few days and see what happens. If I don't receive my check or an e-mail within a week, I will send a secure message. I appreciate your help.

  • That’s a great tip BKMD. I have never heard of a credit card sending a check instead of just putting the money Back into your credit card account. Surely if you keep paying all your bills with that card, the credited amount would soon go down to zero, just as if you were using cash, that is what we have done with the credit that went back onto our Amex bill.
    Travel maven, I’m sorry, I can’t remember if you are still working and have been affected by the Covid crisis, but if not, how can you be so desperate for money, if it’s that bad for you, I’m just wondering If you should have booked the trip in the first place. I don’t like being cheated out of my well earned money and I’m moaning about the possibilities of losing money withTauck on another thread, but if I do lose that money, it doesn’t make me desperate, we have a specific savings account for travel that is separate from our everyday funds. If that fund were to become empty, we would know we should not be traveling. Right now, we seem to be getting refunds from here there and everywhere. We are spending so little money, we keep transferring amounts back into savings. We are using our cars so little that when our leased car ends in August, we are thinking just to give it back and share a car, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if things continue like this, we just don’t need two cars.

  • British - They did put the money back into the account. I only use the Chase card for travel-related expenses because it provides 3x points. I have a Capital One card I use for everything else which gives me 1.5% back across the board. As I'm not booking any travel these days, I wanted the Chase travel credits issued back to me as cash, rather than let it sit in the account unused for who knows how long.

  • British: I wouldn't say that I am desperate for the money, my situation is similar to BKMD. I have had the Chase card for many years and I only use it occasionally for travel if I need additional funds for booking. It doesn't even provide points of any kind. I have a separate card for everyday expenses that does earn points. Since I don't plan on booking any travel in the near future, I would rather have the cash earning some sort of interest rather than sitting in an account. And yes, I did lose my job last November due to downsizing and decided to just retire as it would be next to impossible to get another well paying job at my age, especially now with the COVID-19 and everyone out of work. When I booked the trip last April, I was still working and could afford it. I was hoping to work for a couple more years and didn't have any concerns about the expense as this money was earmarked for my travel fund. Now that I am retired with little income coming in, I have had to readjust my travel budget and be as frugal as possible especially with the instability of the Markets. I hope to continue traveling although it will be locally and on a scaled back basis, at least for the near future.

  • I hope your awful long battle with all this ends soon!

  • British, I also have a travel account which I have always found helpful, I had booked my April trip with miles through Delta and when I canceled the miles were back in my account that afternoon and the tax refunded to my credit card. I had another trip planned to New Mexico at the beginning of June with friends but we canceled so that air fare cancellation was done by me and of course Delta put the funds in my wallet which I used when I booked London & Paris for 2021. Now I'm waiting for the Scandinavia trip to be canceled and the airfare for that will probably go in my wallet as Delta is not canceling the trip.

  • gladysorlando984

    . . . I had booked my April trip with miles through Delta and when I canceled the miles were back in my account that afternoon and the tax refunded to my credit card. I had another trip planned to New Mexico at the beginning of June with friends but we canceled so that air fare cancellation was done by me and of course Delta put the funds in my wallet which I used when I booked London & Paris for 2021. Now I'm waiting for the Scandinavia trip to be canceled and the airfare for that will probably go in my wallet as Delta is not canceling the trip.

    So, from your experience, the money (or the amount) in the Delta wallet from your first cancelled trip "is not tagged" and if you use on a follow-up trip which you also subsequently cancel, it is just carried forward another (year?) until used or more than a year elapses before you use it? If so, nice to know. It hasn't happened to us yet but is a definite possibility!

  • There is no protocol for flights canceled in 2021, so if my London/Paris trip for April 2021 is canceled I don't know how Delta will deal with it. As of now any canceled flight funds that go in your wallet can be used until September 2022, if you booked prior to 6/30. So if my Scandinavia trip cancels (which I expect will) I can cancel the flight, the funds will go in my wallet and I can use them to book until 9/22.

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