Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard countless stories about airlines denying refunds to passengers (even if the passenger spent additional money and bought a refundable ticket) during this global pandemic.
Among the US-based airlines, JetBlue and United have been at the forefront of this scheme and continued to push things to the limit concerning denial of refunds. That is until the DOT reaffirmed that airlines must offer refunds on cancelled flights.
United has taken it so far that a lawsuit has been filed against them.
And JetBlue took it to the next level by requiring changes to be greater than 24 hours in order to get a refund. In other words, if you had a flight at noon on Monday, the airline cancelled your flight, but the same flight was departing on Tuesday at the same time (which more than likely it is), you would not be able to request a refund.
Understandably, this left many JetBlue fans dismayed and it’s sad to see a once customer-centric airline like JetBlue decline so far. Not surprisingly, the decline been happening for years as the airline has changed their strategy of pleasing customers to pleasing Wall Street. 🙄
THE GOOD NEWS
Last week, the DOT reminded the airlines that what they were doing was illegal and that they would be hit with heavy fines unless they rapidly changed course. JetBlue responded accordingly and updated their website to say:
Here is a special global policy for all for flights departing on or before May 31st:
We are temporarily implementing the following policy for all schedule changes and cancellations, for flights leaving between now and May 31st.
– Customer wants to change: Waive the change fee and difference in airfare to the next available flight meeting the Customer’s needs. New flights must be within the same city pairs or to a co-located city and travel must be complete on or before May 31st.
– Customer was rebooked on a new flight but wants to cancel: Waive the cancellation fee. If the schedule change is 120 minutes or longer, then you may refund to original form of payment.
– Customer was not rebooked on a new flight and is stranded: Waive the cancellation fee. If there are no flights within 119 minutes of the original, then you may refund to original form of payment.
To put it in layman terms, their new policy is offering refunds for changes that are 2 hours or more (which is a far cry from ONLY offering refunds on tickets that had changes of 24+ hours).
I’ll be interested to see if customers hold actions like this against these individual airlines. The airline industry is already the least trustworthy industry out there so policies that continue to hurt the customers do not help.
Regardless, I appreciate the DOT for keeping the airlines honest!
If you’re still experiencing challenges with airlines in obtaining your refund, I would recommend filing a complaint with the DOT [HERE], it will speed up the process.
Have you been successful with your DOT complaints?