This is a confusing time for travelers in understanding their options to change or cancel travel plans. We’re here to help.
Most airlines are currently offering travelers fee-free changes or cancellations. That even applies to basic economy tickets and award bookings on some airlines. If your flight was canceled by the airline due to coronavirus, you’re eligible for a refund. This is why it’s so important to book directly with an airline. And many hotels and homestays are offering free cancellations and refunds as well.
Thrifty Tip: Canceled a flight for an airline voucher? Here’s what you need to know.
If the airline you’re meant to fly on goes bankrupt, don’t worry: there’s a way to get your money back.
Did you hear about the European budget airline Primera Air going bankrupt and halting all operations permanently back in 2018? Well, this gal was one of the lucky individuals who had purchased a jaw-dropping flight to Europe for $63 before taxes and fees. The price seemed too good to be true: turns out, it was. In the aftermath of Primera Air going bankrupt, I wanted my money back for the flight I wouldn’t be taking on the airline.
Here’s how I used a chargeback on my credit card to refund my airfare ticket after their bankruptcy announcement. Follow this step by step guide to learn more about how to request a chargeback.
What Can I Request a Chargeback For?
Flights on Bankrupt Airlines
But what if the airline goes out of business and you can’t get ahold of them? You can request a chargeback for a flight you won’t be able to take because the airline went bankrupt. If your flight has been canceled and you cannot get ahold of the airline, you can use a chargeback as a last resort to recoup your payment.
Travel Bookings with Bankrupt or Nonresponsive Companies
Did you make a hotel, homestay, or excursion booking with a company that has gone bankrupt or is unresponsive? This is another time you can use a credit card chargeback to recoup those funds. Exhaust your options to get a refund from the company first, but if that doesn’t work, request a chargeback.
This is why it is so important to book travel with a credit card rather than a debit card — you can request a chargeback much more easily.
How to Request a Chargeback
I purchased my Primera Air ticket using my Capital One Venture One credit card. But if you purchased an airline ticket with a different credit card, don’t worry: the process will be similar for any credit card.
When the announcement came out that Primera Air had filed for bankruptcy and was immediately ceasing operations, I went to my Capital One online account and located the charge. From there, I selected “Report a problem”.
This button brought me to a series of prompts to report a problem with the charge. The first screen, shown below, asks whether this is an unauthorized charge or the charge is incorrect. Because I knew I had purchased a ticket with Primera but would not be taking the flight, I selected “I recognize this purchase, but it’s wrong”.
Next, I was prompted to give more information on what was wrong with the purchase, since I did recognize the purchase. Because I wouldn’t be flying the airline in a few weeks due to their bankruptcy, I selected “Never received what was paid for”.
On the next screen, I was asked to provide more details about any contact I had made with the merchant. Because Primera had shut down operations almost immediately after announcing their bankruptcy and nobody was answering calls or emails, I selected “Other” to describe why I had not contacted the merchant. The prompts provide a “merchant was out of business” option, which applied to my charge dispute.
Next, I was prompted to select the amount I am disputing. In this case, I disputed the full amount of the ticket, as seen below.
The Capital One chargeback process next asked me whether the purchase was merchandise or a service. I selected “Service” for the airline ticket I was requesting a chargeback for.
Finally, I was prompted to describe what was purchased. Here, I wrote what the purchase was for: a flight on Primera airline. For the expected date of service, Capital One’s calendar only allows you to select the current date or a previous date. Although my flight was a few weeks later, I just selected the current date.
Once you submit your Dispute a Charge form, you’ll see this page below. Keep your confirmation code until you see the chargeback on your account.
It only took me one day for my purchase adjustment chargeback to be posted to my Capital One VentureOne credit card account. That’s a really fast turn around for what I was assuming would be a much more complicated process! The chargeback showed up as a credit to my account for the full amount charged by Primera Air.
Each chargeback process will be different for different credit card companies. But if you find yourself with a ticket booked with an airline, travel company, or another travel-related service that has gone bankrupt, you have the ability to request a credit card chargeback to recoup your lost funds.
I was expecting to go through a lot to get my money back for the flight I will never take on the bankrupt airline. I assumed that it would be impossible to get a refund from Primera itself after it immediately ceased operations. However, Capital One’s online chargeback process was very straightforward, and I got refunded for the full amount just one day after submitting the form.
If you’re going through a similar process, best of luck!