When an airline cancels or significantly changes your flight, they owe you a refund – not just a voucher. But many airlines have played hardball during coronavirus, failing to inform travelers when a refund is available or holding onto consumers' cash. And United Airlines has been the worst of them all.
Back in March, the airline refused to give out the refunds they legally owed travelers, leading to an industry-wide warning from the Department of Transportation. United received more refund-related complaints than Delta and American combined in March.
United also made it much harder to qualify for a refund with an egregious policy change, requiring a whopping 25-hour schedule change to get your money back. The airline eventually settled on a six-hour window after customer blowback, meaning only changes of six hours to your departure or arrival time would qualify for a refund.
Until now. United changed its policy again on June 6 to issue refunds when changing a passenger's flight schedule by two or more hours, The Points Guy reports. It's a return to the airline's pre-coronavirus norm.
Better yet, this change is retroactive. So if your flight times changed by two or three hours and United would only give you a travel credit, you can now go back to the airline and ask for your money back.
The Department of Transportation welcomed the news that one of the worst offenders in the battle over airline refunds was getting its act together.
“The Secretary of Transportation has called for increased flexibility by air carriers for passengers impacted by flight changes and for full refunds when flights are canceled, especially during the public health emergency. This policy change is an improvement towards the goal of better protecting passengers,” the department said in a statement.
It's about time, United.
Air Canada has yet to relent regarding refunds. This is in spite of the US Department of Transportation’s policy which says if they land in the US, they have to follow US policy regarding refunds.
These scoundrels will anything with the Canadian government giving them approval. Apparently the “bigs” can change the policies for convenience (and to steal from their customers).
Bottom line: Another airline to avoid at all costs. While not quite as awful (yet) as American, they are well on their way. Stay away from/don’t fly United, you’ve got much better options.