Need help obtaining refund please!

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Nov 22, 2015
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Howdy y'all! A friend purchased a flight to Kona, Hawaii for me on what is now American Airlines as a birthday/Christmas present leaving on December 12th, 2015. On October 19th, 2015 I fell 20' off a ladder. breaking both of my legs and my back. Spent 10 days in the hospital, transported by ambulance when my neighbors found me. I am still in intense pain, unable to sit up for long periods and am unable to walk (non-ambulatory) Obviously unable to travel... When I had my accident, my friend said to request a refund, because she knew I needed the money to help with mounting medical bills. I cancelled my reservation and requested a refund from Customer Service of the $949.97 ticket price through American Airlines website. In the missive to them I requested they send me an email address that I could attach the proof of my condition to. Yesterday I received this response: "Considering the circumstances that caused you to cancel your trip, I am sorry to disappoint you by declining your request for a refund of your nonrefundable tickets. However, I'd like help you with a request to waive the reissue fee on your ticket. In order to do that, I will need a letter on the doctor's letterhead, stating that you were unable to travel due to a medical condition. Once we receive the documentation, please allow 5 to 7 business days for us to review and process your request. You may fax the information or attach the scanned documentation in an email to our department by responding to this email. If necessary, you may send the documentation through the US Mail." AA Ref#1-4788549069 I need a full refund of the ticket price, NOT a waiver on a reissue fee! My friend and I were to take this trip together, and we cannot reschedule!! I am hoping for a quick resolution to this problem! I tried sending the Patient Discharge info to the reply email AA told me to, only to get an automated response that the email address I sent it to is not monitored, and directed me to their website form of contact once again, which has no way to submit an attachment... I filled out the form including the above reference # and submitted once again! Sigh - talk about a circle game! Any and all advice and help in obtaining my refund would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!! Lady Jake
 

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
26,133
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
I am very sorry to hear about your painful accident and hope you are well on the way to recovery.

Did you purchase travel insurance? That is the only way to obtain a full refund when a health issue such as this happens.

The airline will give you a credit that can be used to book another trip and travel within one year of the original date of purchase, they don't refund on nonrefundable tickets.

Why not use the credit once you recover and can travel? You'll truly need a vacation to rest and relax and would be able to enjoy yourself once fully recovered.
 
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Aug 28, 2015
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@mzladyjake The good news is this is not a circle game. You say you are eager for a refund and the airline gave you 2 specific methods to guarantee your documents arrive quickly. In response you proceeded to send the documents in 2 other ways, delaying resolution. You must use:

1. The mailbox, or

2. Fax

A UPS store will fax it for you if you don't have a computer or smart phone for 99 cents. I would Probably fax and send certified mail. You can create your own label online and drop it in the mailbox. You don't even need to go to the post office.
That was kind of them to offer to waive the change fee. I would opt for that as the ticket is in your name. You realize that he refund will go to your friend's credit card and not to you anyway. Your friend will have to be the one to give it you. She seems awesome though! If you are in a time crunch I would send these off today, especially with the holiday coming.
 
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Dec 28, 2014
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Just adding my hope that you recover fully and fast. I'm so sorry this happened to you!
I am happy that you'll be able to receive the flight credit without the reissue fee (which is normally at least $200.00).
 
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Nov 22, 2015
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I am very sorry to hear about your painful accident and hope you are well on the way to recovery.

Did you purchase travel insurance? That is the only way to obtain a full refund when a health issue such as this happens.

The airline will give you a credit that can be used to book another trip and travel within one year of the original date of purchase, they don't refund on nonrefundable tickets.

Why not use the credit once you recover and can travel? You'll truly need a vacation to rest and relax and would be able to enjoy yourself once fully recovered.

Thank you for your reply Neil and your well wishes!
NO travel insurance... and I refuse to believe that would be the ONLY way to get a refund considering the circumstances...
Hawaii was my dream vacation - never been anywhere tropical before, and nowhere overseas either. I am self employed and live simply, so never have much money.
Even if I could take a much needed vacation, it would be a few years before I could do so - physically or financially - if even then! Remember that I now have massive medical bills to pay as well! Obtaining the refund would help to put a dent in that...
Do appreciate your input and welcome further input and actions from others as well!
Thank you!
Lady Jake
 

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
26,133
29,491
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Thank you for your reply Neil and your well wishes!
NO travel insurance... and I refuse to believe that would be the ONLY way to get a refund considering the circumstances...
Hawaii was my dream vacation - never been anywhere tropical before, and nowhere overseas either. I am self employed and live simply, so never have much money.
Even if I could take a much needed vacation, it would be a few years before I could do so - physically or financially - if even then! Remember that I now have massive medical bills to pay as well! Obtaining the refund would help to put a dent in that...
Do appreciate your input and welcome further input and actions from others as well!
Thank you!
Lady Jake
It actually is the only way as this is exactly what travel insurance is for when you purchase nonrefundable tickets.

You can try writing to the executives at the airline beginning with the first executive shown on our customer contacts. Write one at a time once a week. Advise them you know you are asking for them to waive their rules. But as AAGK states, even if you find someone who will breaks the rules, the money would go back to the credit card that was used to but the ticket.

We have had hundreds on the same complaints as yours on the airline boards and the result in all but I think one case was that the airline stuck to their guns and only offered a credit- which is generous because non refundable is non refundable. The fact they waived the change fee is already them giving you an accommodation they don't give very many. Read our forums and you'll see.

But IMO it never hurts to ask- the worst that can happen is they stick to what they've already offered.

Good luck and let us know how your letter writing campaign goes.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
11,163
13,516
San Francisco
What a horrible accident, Ladyjake, I am so sorry to read about it ... I cannot imagine your pain. I wish we had better news for you, but non-refundable tix are not refundable. AA is being generous waiving the rebooking fee. I am hoping that you will be able to consider a trip some months from now to use the credit ... it would surely give you a lovely goal to work towards as you go through the difficult rehab.
 
Aug 28, 2015
3,729
2,904
New York
What credit card did your friend use? It may have travel insurance coverage on it and she can file a claim for an account credit and give you the money.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
11,163
13,516
San Francisco
What credit card did your friend use? It may have travel insurance coverage on it and she can file a claim for an account credit and give you the money.
Hmmmmmm, now this would be interesting. If your friend's credit card has trip cancellation insurance coverage, would the company pay her as the purchaser or you as the injured traveller? Were you going to travel together by any chance?
 
Aug 10, 2013
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Atlanta
As others have said, the airline has already made an exception by agreeing to waive the change fee when provided with documentation. While it's true that it never hurts to ask, I would caution that there's pretty much no chance of receiving a refund on a nonrefundable ticket, unfortunately. I am honestly not trying to minimize the situation, I feel terrible that happened to you and I cringed when I read it. I'm glad at least you're on the road to recovery.

I was a supervisor in a call center/correspondence department for several years. One thing I try to remind people requesting any exception to a policy that seems to come up very often, if not most frequently, is that you need to always remember that the customer service reps see this all day, every day. They obviously can't grant every exception, and the supervisors can't override every exception. They have heard every story there ever was, true and untrue.

The way I have found to best explain this is to put it in the following perspective. I specifically remember granting rare policy exceptions like this one (a $1000 refund on a nonrefundable ticket is actually a HUGE request, from the airline and reps perspective) to a couple whose child was murdered and a family whose home was completely destroyed by a tornado. While I do understand that there are plenty of terrible situations like yours, the unfortunate truth is that there is always a story that is significantly worse. The employees you speak to or read your email look at your issue through this lens.
 
Aug 28, 2015
3,729
2,904
New York
@mzladyjake I think I have a solution. I am not sure about AA, but once a ticket is turned into a credit, that credit can be used to purchase a ticket for someone else. Last week I bought tickets for my boyfriend and I using credits from only my account on 2 different airlines. You can just buy a ticket with that credit for your friend to use on someone else and she can give you the cash for it as your present.
 
Nov 22, 2015
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@mzladyjake I think I have a solution. I am not sure about AA, but once a ticket is turned into a credit, that credit can be used to purchase a ticket for someone else. Last week I bought tickets for my boyfriend and I using credits from only my account on 2 different airlines. You can just buy a ticket with that credit for your friend to use on someone else and she can give you the cash for it as your present.

Thank y'all SO much for your replies! :)
Turns out my friend's credit card does carry travel insurance, but because the ticket is in my name they will not cover. I do know that the refund would go to her credit card - she has offered to give me the cash.
She does do quite a bit of traveling, so the suggestion of her using the credit is a good one!
I heard from AA today: "Therefore, as a one-time courtesy, we have put an authorization into ticket ********** to waive the applicable change fee. Please note that the validity period of the ticket remains the same and any fare difference will still apply. While it is not possible to redeem the credit online, you can book travel via www.AA.com, place your itinerary on a complimentary 24 hour hold, and then contact our Reservations personnel at 1-800-433-7300 for assistance with ticketing. Please have your ticket number available."
Question: What is the "validity period of the ticket"? One year? From original purchase date, cancellation date or today's date? Also, does the same destination (Kona, Hawaii) have to be used?
Again, thank y'all so much!
Lady Jake
 

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
26,133
29,491
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Must purchase and travel by the date the original ticket was purchased. So if the ticket was purchased, say, Sept. 10 2015 for travel on Nov. 15 2015 you must use your credit for travel that gets you home by Sept 10.

And please buy travel insurance! It costs little and you would have been reimbursed in full.
 
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Nov 22, 2015
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Date issued: Sunday, May 24, 2015
Not a lot of time to plan a trip...
I definitely would not be able to take the trip myself!
Lady Jake
 

kenish

Sep 1, 2015
1,187
2,271
KSNA
I take it that means travel must be completed by May 24th, 2016? One year from purchase date?

A year from the date the original ticket was issued, which is usually the same as the purchase date. In your case May 23, 2016. It can be used on another AA flight anywhere, it doesn't have to be to KOA.