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United Changes Its Refund Policy for the (Much) Worse

United Changes Its Refund Policy for the (Much) Worse
Taylor Rains

Amid the coronavirus chaos, United Airlines has taken a step in the wrong direction in regards to its refund policy, and customers are not happy about it.

New Policy

Effective Saturday, refunds are only eligible for flights that experience a 25 hour or more schedule change, which is a drastic hike from the airline’s original two hour policy. The new policy is outlined on the United website:

When a schedule change happens, we try our best to provide you with options that minimize the disruption to your travel plans. In cases where the new flight options don’t work for you and one of the following scenarios applies, we may be able to offer you a refund:

  • The scheduled departure or arrival time changes by twenty-five hours or more.

Customer Response

Customers are not happy with the change and are taking to Twitter to voice their dissatisfaction. One user said, “@united Your lack of customer focus continues to astound me. The new 25 hour refund policy is not in your customers best interest. You are no longer my preferred airline.” Another remarked, “I’ll never use @united again. Literally they get to keep $487 of my cash because my conference was cancelled. The worst customer service of any us carrier. Guess Delta is the only one left to utilize for carrier services.”

United’s Reasoning

Although it is evident that people are unhappy with United’s decision, the airline did release a statement explaining itself, “We recently announced a significant reduction of our international and domestic schedules and as a result, we expect more customers to be impacted than normal. This policy change allows us to accommodate our customers by offering more options to rebook their flights.”

What do you think about the change? Let us know in the comments!

View Comments (16)


  1. davistev

    March 9, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    Sounds like United wants to be able cancel flights and put the customer on the next flight the next day (why 25hrs and not 23hrs?). It also sounds like United wants to keep the money and consolidate services. It also sounds like a decision based on the needs of the finance department and not the customer.

    United dumbest decision so far this year. They will lose customers over this.

  2. TurboTing

    March 9, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Can someone please tell me, are KIR, S and SMI, J evil twin brothers? Or are they just one of the same in each other’s disguise? Pitiful!

  3. Oregonflyer

    March 9, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    I was upset before I read the actual policy. You can still re-book if there is more than a 30 minute change, just not cancel for a refund, and there is the caveat that you can request a refund if “The change causes issues with the overall length of the trip, such as making the connection time too short or significantly longer than it was originally.”

  4. topman

    March 9, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    This reeks of desperation. United has made billions in profit in the last several years and at every turn has screwed their customers.

  5. BiPlane

    March 10, 2020 at 7:40 am

    This story needs to be updated as the three major U.S. airlines have new waivers due to the virus.

  6. donna538

    March 11, 2020 at 5:18 am

    I see regulation in the future!

  7. dkracing

    March 11, 2020 at 5:32 am

    Should anyone be surprised by this? Should anyone be surprised at United continuing to take away but never giving back? Lastly- anyone out there actually think United will revert after the “crisis” had ended? I personally think this has been their normal since the merger… nothing is ever given back once it’s taken away.

  8. amnicoll

    March 11, 2020 at 5:41 am

    Just read this slowly

    “We recently announced a significant reduction of our international and domestic schedules and as a result, we expect more customers to be impacted than normal. This policy change allows us to accommodate our customers by offering more options to rebook their flights.”

    I think the last sentence should have been “ this option makes it harder for our customers to use another airline to get where they wanted when they want”

  9. OCJohn

    March 11, 2020 at 5:45 am

    so United can change my flight until the day after I need to be at a meeting, rendering the trip moot, but I cant cancel? Why would I book with them?

  10. srockgibson

    March 11, 2020 at 5:54 am

    I think you have bad information. The “Flight Schedule Change Policy” website still says a 30-minute change in departure or arrival qualifies as a triggering event for United helping you find something that works. I just used the 30-minute rule with them today. You can read it yourself at

    “If your scheduled departure or arrival time changes by 30 minutes or more, we’re happy to try to find other available flight options that meet your needs. Please keep the following in mind when you call:

    Your origin and destination will have to be the same as on your original itinerary.
    If you have a connection, you may be able to choose a different connecting city or airport.
    Alternative flights must be operated by United or our United Express® partners.
    If we aren’t able to find any other flights that meet your needs, requesting a refund may be an option. See the section below for more information.”

  11. RedElmo

    March 11, 2020 at 7:51 am

    Never buying another United ticket again. Hope American doesn’t pull this stunt. Since they’re getting all my business

  12. WilliamSlack

    March 11, 2020 at 10:13 am

    not surprised that United has made this move; it is in line with their measured – but steady move away from the airline that Contintal once was. As a previous 1K United client, I have not stepped foot into one of their aircraft in 4 years for multiple reasons – all of them related to slipshod and poor service – in the cabin and otherwise.

  13. sengsational

    March 11, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Think about it…. People are not buying tickets. People are cancelling. Look at the capacity problem they now have. They need to fly every other day, not every day. So they wave their customer-hostile magic wand and they fly every other day so that they don’t have to refund peoples’ money. Criminal. I’d be first in line for the law suit if I had a ticket on United, which I don’t.

  14. chavala

    March 15, 2020 at 4:35 am

    Time to update this article. It’s now 6 hours

  15. rice4u

    March 15, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    Everything revolves around the Almighty Dollar, enough stop flying this airline and they will make changes. I don’t care if their prices are cheaper, what good is if their customer service sucks. United is the worst!

  16. sethb

    April 2, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    What did the Contract of Carriage say at the time the ticket was purchased?

    Aren’t there federal regulations about refunds when flights are canceled or changed?

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