What does American Airlines really owe you if it cancels your flight?

If American Airlines delays or cancels your flight home from vacation, what does it really owe you?

That’s what Mikayla Shade wants to know after finding herself in this unfortunate situation. She says an American Airlines agent told her that when the airline cancels a flight, the passenger will receive a full refund. Shade used that guidance to determine her budget for a new flight home. It wasn’t until American Airlines processed her “full refund” that she discovered she’d relied on incorrect guidance from the agent.

Now Shade wants the Elliott Advocacy team to ask American Airlines to provide what its representative promised her.

If Air Canada sent you an extra $4,282 refund, would you just keep it?

Scoring an Air Canada refund during the pandemic has been nearly impossible. The airline has consistently ignored the Department of Transportation’s refund rules for most of the past 20 months. Instead, the carrier has been automatically issuing flight credits — even when it owes passengers cash refunds.

Which makes this story particularly improbable…but true.

Renette Frank was one of the lucky ones who actually received her Air Canada refund last year. So imagine her surprise when the airline recently sent her another $4,282. Even more surprising: When she tried to return the extra money, the airline made that impossible, too.

Now she’s asking the Elliott Advocacy team to help facilitate the return of the duplicate Air Canada refund.

This case is from our “Weird and Silly” files for Thanksgiving. Readers often ask why company mistakes never lean in favor of the customer. But the truth is, we do receive these types of cases from time to time. And, unbelievably, these consumers have hit the same frustrating hurdles as we’ve seen in our standard cases. Here Air Canada made a mistake and sent Frank a refund that it had already given her. So why is the airline making it so difficult to return the cash? Should she just keep it??

United Airlines stranded us in Morocco! How will we get home now?

It’s ok for United Airlines to fly a family to Morocco, cancel their return flight, and leave them stranded there. Right?

Wrong. But the airline seems to think so.

Ahmed Benidamou purchased economical, round-trip tickets from Tulsa to Casablanca directly through the airline’s website. He, his wife, and two small children flew to Africa as scheduled. But then, United Airlines suddenly canceled their flight home and offered no alternatives, leaving the family stranded there.

Now, still stuck in Morocco with no affordable way home, the troubled father is asking for our help. He’s hoping that we’ll convince United Airlines to try a little harder to get his stranded family back to Oklahoma.

Benidamou’s experience is yet another example of just how far customer service has fallen during the pandemic. United Airlines has a vast network of partner airlines spanning the globe, in addition to its own giant fleet. But United repeatedly rejected the bewildered family’s plea for help and simply abandoned them.

Can we find out what is going on here and help get the Benidamous home by Thanksgiving?

Never claim to be nearly killed by an inflight injury if you weren’t. This is why

Mai Le says that an in-flight injury on Hawaiian Airlines nearly put an end to her life. Now she’s asking Elliott Advocacy to force the airline to pay her medical bills and other compensation. But without supporting documentation, is this something we can do?

Le’s tale is an example of what happens when a traveler overshoots the mark with a complaint. We know that often companies will go out of their way to respond to a customer’s valid problem. But the opposite is also true. When a passenger wildly exaggerates the details of an experience, their grievance might just get hit with the delete button.

Le’s troubles began aboard a long-haul flight from Honolulu to Sydney. Things started going wrong soon into the 10-hour, 5000-mile journey. (Reprint)

Can United Airlines really give me a voucher instead of a refund?!

United Airlines canceled many flights early in the pandemic and routinely shoved vouchers instead of refunds at its disgruntled passengers. This unorthodox (and illegal) practice continued until the Department of Transportation put the brakes on it in April 2020.

Earlier that month, United Airlines canceled Michelle Noppenberger’s flight and automatically issued her a voucher instead of a refund. Eighteen months later, she’s still fuming about the situation and wants the airline to give her money back. And she’s asking the Elliott Advocacy team to help her get it.

But after all this time, will United Airlines take back this unwanted voucher and refund her $1,764?

Let’s find out.

This cautionary tale shines a light on one significant way that airlines mistreated their customers during the pandemic. Noppenberger is just one of many who United Airlines “awarded” a voucher instead of a refund as the DOT requires. Now that the dust has settled, is there any way for a passenger to correct this injustice?

This is how to get a refund from a bankrupt airline

The pandemic has been especially hard on the travel industry. Many businesses have not survived. The latest casualty is Alitalia which closed down forever on Oct. 15. This closure has left many Alitalia customers wondering how to get a refund from the bankrupt airline.

And what happens if an airline goes belly up in the middle of your vacation and leaves you stranded abroad?

For Kesleigh Eysie, these weren’t hypothetical questions. She found herself stuck in Paris after Primera Air suddenly canceled her flight home. Although the economically challenged company promised a refund and even an additional stipend, it didn’t follow through. Instead, the airline went bankrupt and stopped operating entirely.

Now Eysie wants to know if there is any way to get her money back from the bankrupt airline.

Eysie’s dilemma should serve as a warning for travelers considering buying a low-cost ticket on an unfamiliar or financially unstable airline. Although you may be able to score a bargain basement priced flight, it’s essential to do a little research before plunking down your money. Or, like Eysie, you could end up with a worthless ticket on a bankrupt airline — and a big financial headache. (Originally published: March 2019,  updated Oct. 31, 2021)

This United business class upgrade wasn’t worth $999. I want my money back!

It’s not likely that any airline would refund a business class upgrade after a passenger completes the trip. But that’s precisely what Juli Talec says an employee of United Airlines promised to do before her recent upgrade.

Talec insists that she never intended to pay to boost her seat into the elite section of the aircraft. So why did she sign a credit card receipt for the business class upgrade at the United Airlines check-in counter?

That’s the $999 question of the day.

Talec’s strange tale underscores just how important it is for travelers to familiarize themselves with basic airline protocol. You can’t enjoy a business class upgrade on United Airlines or any other carrier and expect a refund later. Unfortunately, this passenger learned that lesson just a little too late.

What happens if the name on your passport doesn’t match your ticket?

Can you fly off to an international destination if the name on your ticket does not match the name on your passport?

Ralph Lantz found out the answer in a devastating way. He booked his friend, Jackie, a ticket to meet him on a dream vacation to Greece. But his generous gesture went all wrong at the check-in counter. That’s where Jackie’s Mediterranean plans came to an abrupt end when a Virgin Atlantic agent pointed out that the name on her ticket was not the same as the one on her passport.

Now Lantz wants to know how he can get his money back for the flight. (This article originally appeared in 2019)

Singapore Airlines owes me a refund. How do I get it?

Singapore Airlines promises Rebecca Engelmann a refund for the flights she canceled during the pandemic. She decides to file a credit card dispute. Then things get complicated. Is there a way out?

Question

My family and I canceled our airline tickets last year because of COVID-19. Singapore Airlines promised to refund the tickets but said it would take 16 weeks. I filed a credit card dispute with Citibank.

Citibank issued a temporary credit for the tickets. A month later Singapore Airlines refunded one of the five tickets. But then, in October, Citibank closed the claim and charged us again for all the tickets.

Our credit card company said Singapore Airlines initiated a chargeback in September, and we lost the claim. Singapore said they “allowed the chargeback back” for the other four tickets in summer and therefore they won’t refund the money again, but the credit card company said it’s Singapore Airlines who we need to deal with. Can you help us? — Rebecca Engelmann, White Plains, NY

My honeymoon ended in disaster at the airport! Who owes me $7,000?

Daniela Jedlicki’s honeymoon recently ended in disaster before it even began. She says a series of mistakes caused the couple to be denied boarding their honeymoon flight to Turks and Caicos. Jedlicki blames both her booking agent and insurance company for those errors.

Now she’s asking our team to find out who owes her $7,000 for this honeymoon disaster.

Unfortunately, the culprit of this fiasco is someone she never suspected.

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