Airlines Changes Time of Flight Refund Rules

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Oct 21, 2015
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#1
On January 9, 2015 we made arrangements to fly round trip from Sacramento, CA to Sydney, Australia, leaving Sacramento on September 20th, and returning on October 8th, 2015.
The return flight on October 8th from Sydney to Honolulu on flight #452 would arrive in Honolulu early enough to give us a 3 hour and 20 minute layover, more than enough time to land, go through customs and board our flight #20 to Sacramento at 1:30 PM.
On February 21st we were notified that the October 8th flight #20 from Honolulu to Sacramento was changed to depart Honolulu at 12:40 PM, which still provided us with a 2 hour 30 minute layover, enough time to land, go through customs and board the plane.
On August 3rd we were notified that our reservations on October 8th had been changed again. The departure time for flight #20 was changed to 11:05 AM, therefore preventing us from boarding the flight on October 8th, since we had only 55 minutes to disembark from our flight from Sydney, go through customs, and board flight #20. Without our consent, the Airlines put us on flight #12 from Honolulu departing at 1:40 PM and arriving in SAN FRANCISCO at 9:45 PM. We were stranded in San Francisco with no way home to Elk Grove (102.3 miles). In talking with the representative from the Airlines, I was told to take land travel home! I replied to the rep that this was not acceptable. The representative and I agreed that I would be reimbursed for hotel accommodations in Honolulu so that we could take Flight #20 to Sacramento on October 9th. MY QUESTION IS: DOES THE AIRLINE HAVE TO REIMBURSE US FOR THE ENTIRE COST OF THE HOTEL? They want to only give us a partial refund for the hotel. We stayed near the airport, not at a 5 star hotel.
 
Aug 29, 2015
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#2
When the change was made, in early August, did you follow up with the airline right away at that time? Did they note your locator record that you were to be provided with a room, or did they just tell you verbally that they would reimburse you?
 
Nov 19, 2014
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#3
The airlines typically do not pay for the cost of the hotel when overnighting due to a schedule change. I did have good luck in the past with Continental and AirTran covering the hotel cost, but both of those airlines are gone now. I would consider partial reimbursement for the hotel a win.
 
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technomage1

Verified Member
Jan 5, 2015
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#4
After a bit of research, it looks like you were flying on Hawaiian Airlines.

I agree that dropping you off over 100 miles from home is unacceptable. The airline should've offered you the option of either provided or reimbursed you for the hotel, or the cost of land transportation home (cab or rental car or travel on another airline to your original destination. Of the two, a hotel was probably less expensive and certainly more convenient for you.

Your first step should be to contact their customer service via email at https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/contact-us/email and briefly and politely explain you would like the refund for the hotel the agent promised you. Give them a week to get back to you. You really don't need to go into details of how the flight times changed several times, it will suffice to simply say due to schedule changes you were booked on Flight 12 instead of 20, which resulted in your travel stopping over 100 miles from your airport.

Once you've made an appeal to their customer service and given them a chance to respond, you can elevate your complaint to the contacts listed at http://elliott.org/company-contacts/hawaiian-airlines/. Ensure you only contact each person in the chain in turn, giving them adequate time to respond before going to the next contact. Do not email all the contacts at once - this typically results in each thinking the other will respond and no one responding to you.

You should be able to reduce your message by about 1/2 to make a simple, clear request. If you'd like to post a draft here for us to comment on, we can certainly do that.
 
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Oct 21, 2015
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#5
I was out of town when I received the notice of the change, so I followed up with them in about a week or less. I gave them my reservation code, which I guess is a record locator. I was given the reimbursement promise VERBALLY, which I filed in my brain! I am pretty sure the full hotel cost would be less than travelling home to Elk Grove in the middle of the night for 2 people.
Before I left on the trip, I had no luck finding their refund form on-line, and they did not reply to my short request asking for the form using their "Contact Us" option on their web site. So while at the airport on the return part of the trip, I asked for the "refund form" and was given a card for the Hawaiian Airlines Consumer Affairs Office. By contacting that office, I was given the web site to fill out the electronic form, which I did, attaching the hotel bill. So I am waiting to see if I get a full refund. And if it is only a partial reimbursement, I don't agree that that is a win. We have to jump through the airline hoops all the time. I am a friendly traveler with the airlines industry, so I am someone I would think they would want to travel with them in the future. Wishful thinking I know. I WILL POST THE OUTCOME OF THIS AS SOON AS I RECEIVE MY REFUND. It can take up to 30 days.
Thanks for everyone's feedback!
 
R

Realitoes

Guest
#7
Jan, I'm surprised the airline agreed to this. I have a feeling the agent wasn't authorized to do this, but apparently annotated it in the PNR - therefore, the reason for the partial reimbursement. Normally if there is a schedule change, they will either re-accommodate you on another flight you agree to (which also means one you don't contest) or they will cancel the ticket and refund your money. Airlines don't normally agree to reimburse for hotels, but will instead provide a voucher that will be used at a contracted hotel (that are paid at a contracted rate). This may be the amount they are trying to reimburse you.

Definitely keep escalating in attempt to get full reimbursed or other settlement that is agreeable.
 
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bodega3

Guest
#8
Unless the airline makes the reservation and gives you a voucher, they normally don't pay for a hotel and if they do, they pay you their airline rate, which is probably what you got in the amount paid to you.
I am pleased that you stayed your ground on getting flown back to SMF. Carriers will look at this distance differently than the passengers. Had CO tell my client she was on her own to get from OAK to SFO when SFO was the city on her original reservation. Fortunately she called me and I was able to get the carrier to pay for her Avis car to get back to SFO to pickup her car. AS has left passengers at OAK when STS was their airport on their ticket, not telling the passengers that they would pick up the cost of the airport bus, which is what they should have done. It is annoying to have to fight for what is your right.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#10
Wow, I have NEVER heard of an airline returning you to a city that you didn't book originally. Just when I think there's hope that airlines might start behaving like they give a fig about us, I learn something like this. Please let us know, Jan.
 
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Oct 5, 2015
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#11
Wow, I have NEVER heard of an airline returning you to a city that you didn't book originally. Just when I think there's hope that airlines might start behaving like they give a fig about us, I learn something like this. Please let us know, Jan.
Me, too. There might have been ground transpo arranged by HA that was not reflected on the Air Itinerary.
 

Barry Graham

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Jan 7, 2015
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#13
Wow, I have NEVER heard of an airline returning you to a city that you didn't book originally. Just when I think there's hope that airlines might start behaving like they give a fig about us, I learn something like this. Please let us know, Jan.
Happened to me once, TWA canceled a flight from JFK to Dulles put us on a bus instead and left us at Reagan National to find our own way. They actually wanted to leave us at Baltimore but enough of us complained. Thankfully that airline is just a bad memory now.

In any case I think that if an airline changes it's schedule and causes a loss of money, they should compensate for the loss, in full.
 

Grant Ritchie

Dependable adequacy :-)
Oct 1, 2014
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#16
Fly,

I just came across Ms. Jinings' original "Help" submission. It does mention Orbitz. Odd that she never mentioned them in the forum thread.

My issue is with Hawaiian Airlines regarding our return flight from Australia to Sacramento, CA. I was searching on your website for airline responsibilities in returning you to the airport you made your round trip airline reservations to and from. I could not find that info on your site, so I posted my question to you asking where that info was on your web site. I had to fill out a form for Hawaiian Airlines to be refunded for a hotel when they changed the departure flight from Honolulu to Sacramento to an earlier time, causing our 3.5 hour layover to only be 55 minutes. Due to customs, etc. they decided, without our consent to put us on a flight to San Francisco (landing at 9:45 PM) instead of Sacramento. We were notified by email from Orbitz that there was a flight change. When I realized we were stranded in San Francisco, I contacted HI Airlines and the rep told me to travel by land home to Elk Grove (102.3 miles)! I told the HI rep this was not acceptable. I then involved the Orbitz rep and after the Orbitz rep got off the phone the agreement was that we would stay overnight in Honolulu and then fly to Sacramento the next day, and then complete a form for a hotel refund. Since posting my question to you, I contacted the HI Airlines Consumer Affairs Office and they directed me to the website with the form. Now I am waiting to see what they do because the HI Airlines rep told me on the phone (in August) when we were notified of the flight change that they would reimburse me $130. The cost for the hotel near the airport came to a total of $174.36. MY QUESTION TO YOU NOW IS: Isn't Hawaiian Airlines required to reimburse me for the full cost of the hotel? I also noted on the refund form that I wanted to be reimbursed for food, although I did not provide any receipts. By the way, when I knew I was going to be filling out their form for the refund, I selected their "contact us" tab on their home web site and asked where the form was located. I believe I did it a couple of times. I never got a reply. Why am I not surprised? Also, we purchased our tickets on January 9, 2015.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#17
Fly,

I just came across Ms. Jinings' original "Help" submission. It does mention Orbitz. Odd that she never mentioned them in the forum thread.

My issue is with Hawaiian Airlines regarding our return flight from Australia to Sacramento, CA. I was searching on your website for airline responsibilities in returning you to the airport you made your round trip airline reservations to and from. I could not find that info on your site, so I posted my question to you asking where that info was on your web site. I had to fill out a form for Hawaiian Airlines to be refunded for a hotel when they changed the departure flight from Honolulu to Sacramento to an earlier time, causing our 3.5 hour layover to only be 55 minutes. Due to customs, etc. they decided, without our consent to put us on a flight to San Francisco (landing at 9:45 PM) instead of Sacramento. We were notified by email from Orbitz that there was a flight change. When I realized we were stranded in San Francisco, I contacted HI Airlines and the rep told me to travel by land home to Elk Grove (102.3 miles)! I told the HI rep this was not acceptable. I then involved the Orbitz rep and after the Orbitz rep got off the phone the agreement was that we would stay overnight in Honolulu and then fly to Sacramento the next day, and then complete a form for a hotel refund. Since posting my question to you, I contacted the HI Airlines Consumer Affairs Office and they directed me to the website with the form. Now I am waiting to see what they do because the HI Airlines rep told me on the phone (in August) when we were notified of the flight change that they would reimburse me $130. The cost for the hotel near the airport came to a total of $174.36. MY QUESTION TO YOU NOW IS: Isn't Hawaiian Airlines required to reimburse me for the full cost of the hotel? I also noted on the refund form that I wanted to be reimbursed for food, although I did not provide any receipts. By the way, when I knew I was going to be filling out their form for the refund, I selected their "contact us" tab on their home web site and asked where the form was located. I believe I did it a couple of times. I never got a reply. Why am I not surprised? Also, we purchased our tickets on January 9, 2015.
At the time of the change that is this substantial Jen had the opportunity to tell the airline the change isn't acceptable and you either want them to look for other flights or receive a full refund.
 
Aug 29, 2015
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#18
I'm wondering if perhaps the person who rescheduled the return flight thought SFO and Sacramento were closer than they are? Or they may have thought a shuttle ran between them.

Years ago, I was supposed to fly on TWA from STL to Dulles any my fligjt was canceled. The agent who rebooked me sent me to Washington National instead, but gave me a voucher for a shuttle running between the two airports. Of course this was a long time ago, when Reagan was in office. I don't know if they still do that.
 
Oct 5, 2015
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#19
At the time of the change that is this substantial Jen had the opportunity to tell the airline the change isn't acceptable and you either want them to look for other flights or receive a full refund.
You know this sounds like the HA agent keyed this in as a stopover requested by the customer at the customer's expense and not as a STPC due to a schedule change.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#20
Fly when I have a schedule change, we always check other flights right with the airline because they often have other flights that will work but they don't book them for some reason, they seem to book something that is an inconvenience. We research before contacting the airline and simply request to be placed on the other flight.

Of course, this is only IF there is another flight on the airline that would work. It isn't always possible.
 
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