Air France owes Jim Shea a refund for a flight it canceled during the pandemic. But he’s been waiting a year for his money. So where is it?
Last year, I bought tickets to fly from San Francisco to Stockholm on Air France. I booked the tickets through Cook Travel, a travel agency in New York. I paid for the tickets with my credit card.
Air France canceled the flight because of the pandemic and Cook Travel promised me a full refund. That was one year ago. Cook Travel has asked me to be patient, but now they are not responding to my inquiries. I’ve tried to dispute the charges with Citibank, my credit card issuer. Unfortunately, a representative told me too much time has elapsed. I’ve tried to reach out to executives at Air France and Cook Travel but have gotten no response — and no refund. Can you help me? — Jim Shea, San Mateo, Calif.
If an airline cancels a flight, it has to send you a refund within seven business days. That’s not my rule; it’s the U.S. Department of Transportation’s. If I had my way, I’d make them refund it as quickly as they took your money, which is within a few seconds. So, for Air France to make you wait one year for your refund is outrageous.
Your travel agency should have fought for your money. After all, aren’t travel agents supposed to represent you? And how about your credit card? Citibank could have easily accepted your dispute. The Fair Credit Billing Act, the law that protects credit card customers, does not prevent your bank or credit card issuer from getting involved in a dispute, even if it’s been longer than 90 days. Citibank could have done better. (You can read more about credit card chargebacks here.)
Based on the correspondence between you, Cook Travel and Air France, here’s what happened to your refund.
Air France tried to refund the ticket directly to your credit card. For some reason, that failed. Then an airline representative told you that your travel agent had the money. The travel agency said it did not have the refund. It appears that they just pointed the finger at each other until they lost interest in resolving your case.
Tracking down your Air France refund
You could have reached out to someone higher up at Air France to track down your refund. We list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Air France executives in our database.
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I contacted Cook Travel. A representative looked into your refund and verified that Air France had tried to send the money. You checked with your bank, which contradicted the Air France claim. According to your bank, Air France did not attempt to transfer money to your account. It’s possible that the airline had the wrong account number or routing number. Air France agreed to cancel the original transfer request and create a new one, which it did. You’ve received a full refund.