The impacts of COVID-19 continue to disrupt the air travel industry and now more than ever travelers hunt for concrete answers regarding ticket cancellations, voucher extensions and refunds.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began airlines have tried to combat the downturn of flights by altering policies, allowing passengers to receive travel vouchers and rebooking trips without incurring fees. In cases where the airline has cancelled the trip, airlines are offering refunds. “We will provide full refunds to eligible passengers requesting them for whom we have cancelled a flight or made a significant schedule change,” said a Delta spokesman. In March, Delta Air Lines processed more than one million refunds, totaling more than $500 million, the company said.
In April 2020, The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a notice clarifying that U.S. and foreign airlines remain obligated to provide a prompt refund to passengers for flights to, within, or from the United States when the carrier cancels the passenger’s scheduled flight or makes a significant schedule change and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier.
Although airlines are not obligated to provide refunds to people who cancel their own travel plans, even in the midst of stay-at-home orders, some airlines have chosen to extended travel vouchers and waivers during this time. For example, Delta, Southwest and United have extended the time for customers to use travel vouchers through mid to late 2022.
It is clear that airlines are trying their best to work with customers in spite of losing billions and burning through their cash reserves. “The key element for us is to avoid running out of cash so refunding the canceled ticket for us is almost unbearable financially speaking,” IATA Director General Alexandre De Juniac said.
Check out Travel Incorporated’s Airline Waivers page for a comprehensive list of airline waivers and information to assist in your travel plans.