Refunds for Non-Refundable Tickets

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technomage1

Verified Member
Jan 5, 2015
2,012
3,431
113
#1
I bought a nonrefundable ticket and can’t travel. Now what?

We have heard from hundreds of readers who buy a plane, cruise or tour ticket, have an emergency and can’t travel and expect the airline/cruise line/tour company to give them their money back for their trips.

Unfortunately unexpected circumstances are exactly what purchasing the right travel insurance policy is for. Fell off a ladder and broke your leg a week before traveling? Had a heart attack, death in the family, brain bleed, lost your job, your house burned down, you had a car accident on the way to the airport, a hurricane or flooding knocks your house down but you neglected to purchase travel insurance? The airline, cruise line or tour operators are not obligated to refund you for these unexpected instances if you didn’t buy refundable tickets. You are one of thousands of fellow passengers that find themselves in this position every day. That’s exactly why they sell insurance – because they cannot possibly be expected to provide refunds to everyone that has an unfortunate incident occur.

So what can you do? Your advisors on the Elliott.org forums have a phrase we’ve coined for the advice we give readers who find themselves in this predicament – “artful begging”.

Airlines are the most forgiving of any supplier when something like this happens. In most cases, they will give you a credit to use within one year from the date you BOOKED (not your travel date) that ticket for the amount you paid less a cancellation fee. That cancelation fee ranges from nothing on one airline to thousands on another depending on the class of ticket purchased. If your airline offers a credit, that is more than they have to do for a non-refundable fare. They don’t have to give you anything back.

Yet you want more? In most cases, you probably won’t get offered more than that but we have learned never say never. It’s time for the artful beg

If you find yourself in this predicament, use this thread before posting on the boards, since this is what we are going to tell you to do. Here are the steps to take:

- Get off the phone. You need a paper trail of correspondence – oral promises mean nothing.

- Write a short and sweet letter (use bullet points and state facts only, no emotion) explaining what happened causing you to forfeit your travel plans.

- Somewhere in your letter, make a statement similar to this : “I know that I am not entitled to a refund and that I am asking you to make an exception to your policy, but if you could consider providing me with a refund, I’d be very appreciative”

- Don’t tell the supplier they stink, you’ll never use them again or you are going to report them to the DOT or the Consumer Affairs department because you were turned down. You aren’t entitled to a refund unless you bought a refundable ticket – you want them to be on your side and be sympathetic.

- On the Elliott.org website, click on the top of any page and find the company contacts for the travel supplier you are writing to.

- Send your letter to the Customer Service e-mail address ONLY. Wait a week for a response. If you do not receive a response within a week, or the answer is no, it’s time to move up the executive chain. Write a letter to the first executive shown on our list. Tell him or her you wrote to Customer Service, received a no or received no correspondence back and you would be extremely grateful if he/she could consider your request.

- Give it a week – if you hear nothing again or the answer is no, write to the next executive and repeat weekly until you get all the way up the chain.

- Expect to be turned down but you just might find an executive who is touched by your extremely polite letter and circumstance and does offer you what you asked for.

- Once you have written to everyone and have a paper trail yet still did not receive what you would like, click on the “HELP” tab at the top of any page. Now it’s time to let Chris Elliott know you have followed his instructions on going up the chain of command and have received a “no”. If Chris thinks there might be something either he or his staff members can do – they will contact you back.

Good luck and report back to us once you follow these steps and let us know if you got a “Yay” or a “Nay”.

***Thanks to staff member Neil for putting this together****
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,151
7,013
113
San Francisco
#2
Advice as you compose your letter: Think about who will be reading it. These are people buried in complaints and memos, in and out of boring meetings. You want this person to be on your side, to want to help you. This person did not cause your problem. You want this person to understand exactly what happened with one read-through. Be very clear and realistic about what you are seeking in compensation. You cannot be too polite.
 
#3
This may be a dumb question but, what should I do first? Call Reservations, cancel my reservation and explain the reason I would be eternally grateful for a waiver of the cancellation/change fees or should I do it all via email so that I have a paper trail?

Thanks so much.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,151
7,013
113
San Francisco
#4
This may be a dumb question but, what should I do first? Call Reservations, cancel my reservation and explain the reason I would be eternally grateful for a waiver of the cancellation/change fees or should I do it all via email so that I have a paper trail?

Thanks so much.
Deede, you've responded to a thread that's from last summer. Best if you would post a new query under the name of your airline. We need to know some details, so please tell us your story and we will be happy to help.
 
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