How long do I have to wait for an Expedia refund?

Waiting for an Expedia refund

When a flight is canceled because of bad weather, passengers can expect to be rebooked — or a prompt refund. But that doesn’t always happen.

Consider what happened to Scott Shell when he booked a one-way flight for four to Nantucket.

He made reservations on Hahn Air for July 8 through Expedia and paid $808. When inclement weather grounded his flight, he requested a refund from Expedia. He soon realized that getting his money back would be a difficult ordeal.

Shell contacted Expedia multiple times by phone and email, inquiring about the status of his refund. Expedia informed Shell that it had requested the authorization for reimbursement on July 22 from Hahn Air and was awaiting confirmation.

That’s 14 days after the flight was canceled.

Expedia warned that the process could take an additional eight weeks, depending on the airline and his bank. This, however, differs from the “refund timelines” spelled out in Expedia’s customer service policies.

Shell complained to Expedia that waiting eight more weeks was excessive, and understandably so. $800 is a lot of money, and the flight being canceled was out of his control. He not only missed out on the flight, but the cancellation also caused unplanned expenses and a major disruption in his travel itinerary. Shell had booked the flight through Expedia and believed it was Expedia’s responsibility to issue the refund, rather than waiting on Hahn Air.

On July 29, Hahn Air gave Expedia approval to process the reimbursement. Expedia sent a confirmation email to Shell informing him that it was issuing the refund on August 10, extending the delay even further.

By early October, Shell still had not received his refund.

This case offers a few practical lessons for the rest of us. If the charge is on a credit card and obtaining a refund proves to be difficult, dispute the charge with the credit card company. It will contact the company in question and will not charge interest while the transaction is under dispute. Be sure to check with the credit card company for any restrictions that may apply.

Second, even though the ticket may have been purchased from an online booking agent, it is true that the airline has to initiate the authorization before the refund can be processed. However, the booking agent should advocate for the refund on behalf of the customer to ensure it is done in a timely manner — or better yet, issue the refund and then negotiate its reimbursement with the airline.

And last, it seems as if Expedia has a mixed philosophy on how it prefers to be contacted by its customers. In an email to Shell, Expedia stated,

we cannot provide the following services over email: booking, changing, or canceling reservations, refund requests, price quotes, or urgent requests regarding travel within the next 5 days.

What’s interesting is that Expedia had no record of the numerous phone calls made by Shell (requesting the refund). It indicated that his first contact with Expedia was when he sent an email.

This can be confusing because on Expedia’s site it repeatedly states that it will contact customers via email or phone regarding flight changes, options, and refunds. When customers are unable to reach Expedia by phone or are subject to long wait times on hold, they resort to communicating via email. Is Expedia saying that it has the option of emailing, but the customer does not?

After reaching a point of frustration, Shell filed a complaint with the Department of Transportation. Shell also could have addressed his grievances with the management level at Expedia. A list of executive contacts and a link to the appropriate page is provided on our company contacts section.

Instead, he sought help from our advocates. They stepped up on his behalf and began their intercession with Expedia.

After waiting over three months, Shell finally received his refund in mid-October.

That is a long time to wait for a refund on a canceled flight, and it does not line up with Expedia’s refund timelines as listed on its customer service page at . It states

Expedia may take up to 5 days to process your refund. Once your refund is processed, your financial institution may take up to 7 days to post the credit to your account.

To recap the time frame, the flight was canceled on July 8, and Hahn Air gave Expedia authorization to process the refund on July 29, which was 21 days from the initial request by Shell. Expedia informed Shell it had issued the refund on August 10. Shell did not receive the refund until mid-October.

Shell’s fortitude and patience are commendable.

So the question remains, why did Expedia take over three months to issue a refund to Shell?

Should Expedia issue refunds to customers for flights that are canceled and then negotiate its reimbursement with the airline?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


About the Author
Stephanie is a published book author and travel columnist with a focus on preparation and protocol. She is committed to helping travelers be informed and avoid potential problems while traveling. Stephanie's most recent book is "Know Before You Go: Traveling the U.S. and Abroad". For travel insight when planning your trip, visit Know Before You Go Travel. Along with writing, Stephanie does interior designing. Read more of Stephanie's articles here.
Posted in That's Ridiculous! Tagged , , ,

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by

With nearly 20 years in the industry, over 128 airport covered in the U.S. and Canada, and over 1,000 Hotel and Parking Partners-we provide travelers the best options on how to get to the airport when flying. Whether you want to; drive yourself and park near an Airport (Airport Parking), stay the night before your flight at an airport hotel and leave your car (Hotel and Parking Package), or take a shared Shuttle/Private Car/Limo to the Airport- we got you covered. The best deals can be found online, and booking a reservation has never been easier. You can explore all of our options by visiting us at,,, and

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by

Since its inception over three decades ago, G1G has continued to revolutionize the travel insurance industry by being the only aggregator to operate a customer portal, placing all of the user's primary needs in one place. We have continued to innovate and disrupt the market by reimagining the way travel insurance can be delivered to the end user in ways no competition can. Simply put, no one knows the market as well as its founders and no one else shares G1G values and mission.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

Send this to a friend