After a canceled trip to Greece, where is this passenger's refund from Skylux?

Skylux owes me a big refund! How can I get my $7,399 back?

Skylux Discount Travel owes Alan Rubin a hefty refund for a canceled Delta Air Lines flight. The airline sent the refund to SkyLux. But then where did it go? That’s the mystery for today. 

Question

My wife and I had reservations made by Skylux Discount Travel for a Delta Air Lines flight from San Francisco to Paris and Athens for October 2020. Delta canceled the flight because of COVID-19. At that time, I asked Skylux for a refund.

I found out that Delta refunded my fare to Skylux Discount Travel last November. Since then, despite numerous calls and emails, I have been unable to get Skylux to send the refund to me. The company keeps telling me it’s coming, but it never does.

Can you help me get my $7,399 back? — Alan Rubin, Tiburon, Calif.

Answer

Skylux Discount Travel should have returned the money to you as soon as it had the refund from Delta. Under federal regulations, when an airline cancels a flight, you’re owed an almost immediate refund to your credit card.

So what happened? Like so many other refund cases that have crossed my desk in the last year, I can only chalk this up to the COVID effect. Companies dragged their feet with refunds — in your case, it wasn’t the airline but the travel agent.
You handled this one by the book. You kept your refund request correspondence in writing, both with Delta and Skylux Discount Travel. You had case numbers and emails that you could pass along to me, which you did. Good work!

This is one of the drawbacks of working through a third party like a travel agency. Your airline refund has to go through another company, and creating a potential for delay. Why did Skylux Discount Travel keep your refund for almost a year? Maybe it was experiencing an IT problem handling all the COVID-related refund requests? Or maybe it wanted to keep the money as a kind of microloan. Who knows?

I often wonder what would happen if we reversed the roles. How would travel agencies respond if customers decided to take their time paying for their plane tickets? What if we could take months or years to pay for our travel, long after taking our trips? Of course, the travel industry would descend into anarchy. So why is it OK if travel companies do it to us?

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.

The good news? Skylux is sending your refund!

When I checked on your case, it seemed as if Delta was looking into who had the money. But a few months later, it appeared as if your refund was still in the works. We list Skylux executive contacts on our site, and I reached out to the company on your behalf.

“At first, we could not see any incoming funds from the carrier for this ticket,” a representative told me. “We contacted the carrier’s travel agency support desk to clarify it. We are happy to confirm that the funds are to be received by us next week, and once that happens the refund will be immediately processed. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused in connection with this request.”

You received every penny of your fare back.

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