American Airlines refunded only half of my ticket — where’s the rest?

After American Airlines cancels Susan Cohen’s flight, it refunds only half her ticket. The reason? It claims she used the other half. Which is impossible. What now?

Question: I had a roundtrip ticket on American Airlines from Boston to Washington recently. As we prepared to board, the flight was canceled. There were no other flights available and I could not travel.

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I requested a refund and received only the Boston-Washington portion, which was $91. When I called, I was told the return flight was marked as used. This is impossible, as I never went anywhere that day.

A customer service representative told me that there was nothing they could do and I had to file a written complaint, which I did. This smacks of the exact issue that affected another passenger you recently reported. That passenger was also denied a refund because their ticket was marked used, when it was not. I sincerely hope this is not the general practice of American Airlines. — Susan Cohen, Brookline, Mass.

Answer: American should have refunded your entire ticket. A careful check of its records would have shown you didn’t use the return ticket. Case closed.

But your problem raises an interesting question. Technically, American Airlines — like all other carriers — only has to refund the ticket for a flight it cancels. And since American didn’t cancel the return flight, did it really have to return your fare?

This might be a new way for airlines to make even more money. If they cancel a flight, they only have to refund part of your ticket. I know, I know — don’t give them any ideas.

Obviously, you weren’t on the return flight. A quick email to American should have cleared that up. If it didn’t, an email to one of the airline’s customer service managers might have helped. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of American Airlines’ customer service managers on my consumer advocacy website.

I contacted American on your behalf, and it says it refunded your entire ticket.