When Christine Gaesser is forced to cancel her flight on Aer Lingus, the airline sends her a refund check that her bank won’t cash and ignores her request for a credit. Can our advocates persuade Aer Lingus to issue Gaesser a refund in a form she can use?
Question: My husband and I made reservations for a flight from Barcelona, Spain, to New York and a transatlantic cruise. But before we could take the trip, my mother died. Our air tickets were nonrefundable and we did not purchase travel insurance, so we did not expect a full refund for our trip costs. However, Aer Lingus assured us that we would be reimbursed for the airport taxes.
I received a check for 80 euros ($94) from Aer Lingus. My bank, WSFS, tried to cash the check through its affiliate, Bank of America, but Bank of America returned the check, advising that it will not cash a check for less than 250 euros ($294). I then emailed Aer Lingus’ customer service twice to request that the refund be issued as a credit on my credit card, but Aer Lingus has not responded.
Can you help me get Aer Lingus to issue a credit to me for the airport taxes? — Christine Gaesser, Glen Mills, Pa.
Answer: My condolences on the loss of your mother and, consequently, your trip. I’m also sorry that you have not been able to secure an airport tax refund from Aer Lingus in a usable form. You don’t need that kind of hassle, especially when you’re in mourning.
Your case is a good example of why you should purchase travel insurance with trip cancellation coverage, because it would have reimbursed you for your airfares, taxes and other costs of your trip. Because you purchased nonrefundable tickets, you forfeited the base fares when you canceled your flights.
But even when airfares are nonrefundable, the airport taxes associated with the airfares are refundable. Aer Lingus’ conditions of carriage indicate that “If you do not travel, you may apply in writing for a full refund of taxes, fees and charges paid, in which case the refund may be subject to a reasonable administration charge.” They also provide that “We reserve the right to make a refund in the same manner and the same currency used to pay for the Ticket.”
So Aer Lingus should have issued you the airport tax refund as a credit on the card you used to pay for the tickets the first time you requested the refund. Instead, it issued you an uncashable check and ignored you twice.
After the airline failed to respond to your second request, you might have escalated your complaint using our Aer Lingus executive contacts. Instead, you turned to our advocacy team.
Our advocates reached out to Aer Lingus on your behalf, and you have notified us that Aer Lingus has credited your card with the amount you paid for the airport taxes.