Poor refund/change policy

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Mar 30, 2021
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I purchased 2 round trip tickets to Ft Myers Fl on December 21 2020. I purchased the tickets from United because of the early arrival time, reasonable price and flexibility to change or cancel the flight as advertised by United. On 3/10/21 I received an email from United informing me of a schedule change. Our flights will not arrive until 1:23pm instead of the election original 11:45am. The email stated:
If these changes don't work with your travel plans, easily review your options to change to a different flight or cancel your trip here. This option did not work well for our plans so I decided to cancel the outgoing flight but I decided to keep the return flight since that flight works great for us. I booked an outgoing flight on a different airline that had an earlier arrival time that worked better for us. I went to United’s website to request a refund and it was unclear how to do this when just cancelling only one leg of the trip. So I opened up an online chat with an agent. After explaining my situation she checked on some things and told me that I wouldn’t be eligible for a partial refund because the one way price was now the same as my original round trip price! This didn’t seem fair to me. She did our me a future travel certificate if I wanted to cancel the whole trip but I didn’t want to cancel my return flight because my return flight options were limited. I didn’t feel good about her explanation so I called United customer service line. After being on hold for over an hour I finally spoke to an agent. I again explained my situation. I told him it didn’t seem fair that a the prices of a one way would be the same as a round trip ticket. He asked if I could hold while he checked with his supervisor. When he came back he told me that he understood my point and although he was not authorized to issue a partial refund or travel credit he thought I should contact their customer service team through there “Contact us” link on their website. I asked him if he thought they would be able to help me with my problem and he responded that he thought I had a very good chance of getting this resolved. So I contacted UAL through the contact us link and again explained my situation. About a week later I received a generic response instructing me to refer to the website for refund policies or call and speak to an agent. I replied to the email and stated that I had already spoken to an agent and would appreciate a more personal response. The next day I received an email stating:

I'm sorry that we can't agree on how to best resolve this situation. We always want to reach a mutual understanding, and apologize for how this experience made you feel.

While I won't be able to honor your request on this issue, please know that I shared your feedback with the appropriate teams. We'll use your comments to review our procedures with your point of view in mind.

That response certainly doesn’t seem to match the spirit of the flexible cancellation policy. I would be happy with a future travel voucher for approximately 50% of my original round trip fare of $600. In a time when the travel industry is struggling one would think an airline would do everything possible to keep loyal customers, not drive them away. I feel a future electronic travel certificate for around $300 is a small accommodation to make for a problem that was originally created by a United schedule change.
 
Mar 23, 2015
518
1,111
Unfortunately, that is not how airline ticket pricing works. Your ticket isn't "half there and half back" priced. And round trip fares are almost ALWAYS cheaper than a one way. Your mistake was booking elsewhere and then requesting your refund. You could have gotten a full future credit for the entirety of the trip, if you had cancelled entirely and then picked and chosen a one way return that met your needs, but your tickets were linked as one ticket. Had you purchased 2 one-ways, you'd have been able to decouple them.
 

Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
882
1,852
The changes are not long enough to get you a refund ( it is what a bit over an hour later?). So if you cancel a non refundable rate you could have been due nothing just on that point.
They are saying a one way fare is the same price as the round trip. This is quite possible. You could verify this by doing a mock booking and see what the price is.
I would think that just arriving the hour later might be the cheapest option if they would reinstate that flight ( If the price did not go up since your original booking). Next best is to take the offered 300.00 voucher. You are just not due any refund as you canceled. The airlines are permitted to make changes to a flight ( including layovers). I think the current time frame is with in 4 hours. I am sure one of the travel agency people will correct me with the current rules.
 
Last edited:
Mar 23, 2015
518
1,111
If you cancel one leg of a round trip ticket, the return automatically gets canceled. That’s how a round trip ticket works.

I would cancel the second ticket you booked and fly your original ticket. Two hours isn’t enough of a change to qualify for a refund.
I agree. The difference between 1145 and 123 is, in the travel world, so.... minimal. You could just as easily show up for the original flight and just get delayed that amount of time, with NO recourse. Seems maybe the OP was looking for a reason to cancel...
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
11,049
13,250
San Francisco
FOR OUR READERS
Great care is needed to make changes like this to avoid a real mess. Not every transaction with an airline should be done online; one has to be knowledgeable and read all the fine print very carefully. An inexperienced traveller doesn't know that you can't just cancel one flight you don't like and keep the other one on a R/T tix. If you find yourself in a situation like this, call the airline before making any changes. In this specific case, UA stated that their options should be reviewed. With an airline, the fine print is often a lot of mumbo-jumbo, so even experienced travellers will call an agent for guidance. Dial the number, put the speaker on, and go about your work until someone answers.