If you’re used to flying a lot, you probably have a routine for booking airline tickets and arriving at the airport on time with the expectation that you’ll board and fly off as simple as that. Unfortunately, many things could happen on the day of your flight that causes it to be massively delayed or outright canceled. Today’s COVID-19 pandemic has especially caused disruptions in air travel and led to airlines and transportation authorities to have policies ready to help customers. The good news is there are almost always ways you can get a travel refund claim or another form of compensation when these situations happen.
The 24 Hour Cancelation Rule
If the flight you are booking is at least 7 days away from the date of your booking, and you have a change of plans within 24 hours, you can usually cancel for free and get a full refund. This is mandated by the DOT and applies to non-refundable tickets as well as fully refundable ones. Even some airlines will have additional refund options with more flexible deadlines for requesting refunds. Some may even decide not to collect payment for flight reservations until the 24 hour window has passed to make it less of a hassle.
Cancelations Of Flights Done By The Airline
The situation where you’d be most likely to make a travel refund claim and have it honored is if the airline cancels your flight without giving enough advance warning. Now if there are issues such as dangerous weather and tarmac delays, those usually don’t require the airline to issue full refunds. But each airline will usually have information about compensation for passengers under such circumstances including booking seats on later flights. This compensation is typically given because of the EU 261. As stated by Travel Refund, “The EU261 is legislation that was passed in the European Union in 2004 that allows passengers to claim compensation for delayed or cancelled flights.” Now if the airline suddenly cancels your flight for reasons that include COVID-19, or makes a very significant schedule change that doesn’t work out for you, you’ll usually be able to get either a full cash refund or travel credit with vouchers.
Should you only take a cash refund or use travel credits? That could depend on how much your flight tickets cost or what the conditions on the travel credit are. If you can travel again real soon, and no blackout dates apply to your travel credit in that time period, using travel credit may be worthwhile. Otherwise, do not accept it and make sure you tell the airline agents you want a full refund.
How To Claim Your Refund
The process of claiming your refund can be simple with some airlines and complicated with others. Many have cancelation services right on their website that you can find and fill out their form for. For others, you may need to call their customer service hotline to get it taken care of, but if you’re having trouble reaching them you might want to try messaging them on one of their social media pages.
In conclusion, you can get travel refunds even for non-refundable airline tickets so long as you make your requests to do so within any deadline periods. One thing to remember is that because of extra demand for ticket refunds due to COVID-19, any cash refund could be delayed a few months. But always be courteous when speaking to the customer service representative because they will usually be better able to help you when you do.