Troubled airline refunds nonrefundable ticket to unemployed passenger

Here’s something you don’t see every day. A deeply troubled airline with a reputation for rigidly enforcing its nonrefundability rules has issued a full refund to a recently-unemployed passenger. Has the carrier found its heart?

By most accounts, US Airways is in serious trouble. It doesn’t have a reputation for being generous, even with its best customers.

Jennifer Bush’s husband lost his job three weeks ago. The couple had booked a vacation to Ireland through Expedia, but when he got his pink slip, they decided to postpone their trip.

I contacted Expedia and they told me that they could only give me a credit to use within a year. I told them that we were involved in a lengthy legal battle to have my husband reinstated and that it would take up to a years time to resolve it. So needless to say we would not be able to travel within a year. They told me there was nothing they could do.

The Bushes had taken out a travel insurance policy, but it didn’t do them any good because the couple was still physically able to travel.

So last week, Bush tried one last thing. She found a list of customer service executives from my site and began emailing them.

The first note, to the airline’s customer relations director, “got me nowhere,” she reports.

So I decided to go right to the chief operating officer of US Airways, Robert Isom. I emailed him, explaining the entire situation and about a week later I got a phone call from a women named Sharon Baker in the executive offices at US Airways.

She told me that they all felt for my situation and decided to refund the amount of the airfare.

Kudos to US Airways for giving a passenger in need a deserved break and refunding $2,200. It may have lost a little revenue in the short term, but I think it’s earned a customer for life.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

  • How long did it take to get a response? I emailed them yesterday trying to get refunded on a non-refundable ticket and emailed the Customer Relations Manager for the company and for the Phoenix hub…any help would be appreciated…

  • Grant Ritchie

    Hi Matt,
    This is an almost five-year-old thread. Chris might not see your question here. I suggest that you click the “Connect” link at the top of this page and email your appeal directly to him.

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