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 cruise ship passenger arrived just in time — to be denied boarding!

Could a cruise ship passenger be denied boarding even if they have all of the required documents for sailing?

Lee Bolland says he knows the answer to that question is “Yes” because it happened to him. In September, he and his wife planned to cruise through the Mediterranean on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic. The couple flew to Spain to begin their adventure, and all was going well — until it suddenly wasn’t. At the port, NCL employees shockingly denied Bolland boarding and abandoned the couple there.

Now Bolland wants our team to show NCL the evidence that proves it mistakenly denied him boarding the cruise.

And he wants his money back.

But did NCL mistakenly deny boarding of the cruise to Bolland, or does the mistake lie elsewhere? That’s the question for today.

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)

Hertz made a big mistake and charged me $750 extra! I need help

Shannon Mikus says Hertz made a big mistake during her recent car rental. She says the company charged her nearly $750 extra, and she can prove it. So why won’t anyone at Hertz acknowledge this outrageous error and refund her cash?

That’s the question of the day.

This tale is another that highlights the dramatic rise in billing mistakes by Hertz and other agencies during the pandemic. Whether by carelessness, lack of skilled employees, or questionable business practices, something is amiss in the car rental industry. Here’s Mikus’s frustrating experience and some vital information so you can avoid ending up in the same situation.

My child was denied boarding our cruise! Can NCL refuse my refund request?

Anakarina Alvarez has a highly unusual story to tell — one that includes lots of confusing twists and turns. She says her family had been eagerly looking forward to a tropical vacation aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Gem. Unfortunately, those plans ended abruptly at embarkation when the cruise line denied boarding to her 11-year-old child. To add insult to injury, NCL refused the family’s $4,000 refund request, too.

Alvarez says NCL made a big mistake when it denied boarding their family’s dream cruise to her fully-vaccinated daughter. Now she wants our team to force the cruise line to admit its error and issue a refund and compensation.

But wait a minute!

The cruise line maintains it made no mistake — Alvarez’s daughter was not denied boarding in error. NCL requires all passengers to be fully vaccinated. And since children under 12 aren’t currently approved for any COVID vaccine, this 11-year-old couldn’t have been fully vaccinated.

Case closed. Or is it?

A filthy vacation rental is not my thing! How do I get a refund?

When an Airbnb host directs Andrea Walker to use the service elevator in the building where she is renting an apartment, she’s slightly suspicious. However, when she opens the door to the unit, she knows she definitely won’t be staying. The owner apologizes for the state of the filthy Airbnb vacation rental and quickly agrees to a refund.

So why does the host later tell Airbnb that she spent the whole weekend at the property? (Last updated 10/14)

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