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How To Get A Refund Instead Of A Flight Credit

Weather can often cause a flight to be delayed or cancelled.  Most airlines do not want to refund your money.  They would rather give you a credit toward another one of their flights.  The purpose of your trip may have been a one-time event such as Birthday, Graduation, Wedding or Sporting Event.  Therefore, credit does not help you.  You may need or want your money back.  There may not be a need to book at a later date and you could use that money for something else.  The airline will offer a period of time for you to change the flight with “no fee”.  This is an attempt to keep you as a customer and to keep the funds you have already spent with them.  The airlines will usually offer this before the flight is actually cancelled.  The catch is they will only allow you to make 1 change with “no fee”.  If you accept their offer, then you cannot get a refund even if the flight is later cancelled.  You should wait until the flight is cancelled until you request your refund.  Airlines have to offer full refunds when they cancel their flights.  It does not matter the reason if the Airline cancels the flight you are entitled to a full refund with no penalties or fees. There is also something commonly referred to as the 24-hour rule.  The Department of Transportation requires airlines to either “hold” a ticket purchase for 24 hours or offer a full refund within a day, unless you’re within a week of your departure.

When requesting a refund here are the steps you want to take:

  • Step 1: Be patient.  Usually the person in the biggest hurry always loses.
  • Step 2: Be smart.  Don’t start the conversation with an attitude or trying to make them do something.  Instead use a disarming opening line like, “I need your help!”  Even better is for you to use the representative’s name.  Example, “Barbara I need your help!”  People generally want to help.  You have to give them a chance to help.  Don’t make an enemy or an adversary before they even have a chance to help you.
  • Step 3: Contact the airline.  Often the middle of the night is the best time to request your refund.  They will usually offer you what benefits them best first so know that going in.  Also if you call as soon as they notify you, make sure to listen carefully to what they say and what they don’t say.
  • Step 4: Ask questions.  If they cannot give you a refund, ask what circumstances would they be able to offer you a refund?  What would need to happen for me to receive a refund?  Would I be eligible for a refund if the flight is cancelled?
  • Step 5: Contact the Airline after the flight has been cancelled or the airport has been officially closed.  You can monitor TV, Radio, Internet and the Weather Channel or the Official Website of the Airport to know when the Airport is Officially Closed.

Most Airlines do not want to refund your money they want to give you a credit toward a future flight.  Most Customers want a full refund and if you follow the steps above you should get it!
Copyright: luckybusiness / 123RF Stock Photo

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Bill Collins

Bill Collins is a former Army Officer turned veteran traveler. I have traveled to 34 different Countries mainly concentrated in Central & Latin America and have spent the last 16 years exploring the Caribbean Islands.

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