Sent back to square one on a ticket refund — what’s next?

At what point in the ticket refund game do you say “enough”? After a year? Two years? Or is it the amount of hassle that makes you throw your hands in the air in exasperation?

Sometimes it’s a combination of time and trouble, and Mindy Farabee has both.

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Last May, she applied for a ticket refund from Air France, a process that would take no more than three months, she was promised. At the end of July, she contacted the airline again to determine the status of the refund.

I have talked to three people, one of whom says he has never heard of the person helping me although he’s been in web support for years. The last person I talked to said they have no record at all of my refund request. I was given a new fax number and told to start over.

As they say in France, c’est ridicule!

The Transportation Department requires a prompt refund.

When a refund is due, the airline must forward a credit to your card company within seven business days after receiving a complete refund application; however, the credit may take a month or two to appear on your statement.

If you paid by credit card for a refundable fare and you have trouble getting a refund that you are due (e.g., you have a refundable fare, or you have a nonrefundable fare and the airline canceled your flight and you did not travel as a result), report this in writing to your credit card company.

Air France was clearly out of line. Instead of advising Farabee to start over, I contacted the carrier on her behalf. I just heard back from her.

I received an email today from Air France stating that I would receive a full refund of $1,680 for the ticket. Thank you so much for contacting Air France. I believe it “inspired” them to resolve the problem. Thank you for being an advocate for the traveler.

I’m troubled by the airline’s foot-dragging on this case — and indeed, that of the airline industry, in general. It takes only a few seconds to take the money out of our accounts for a ticket. Why make us wait months for a refund?

(Photo: Andres R Ueda/Flickr Creative Commons)