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UA Refund of cancelled ticket prior to 4+ hour delay

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Old Dec 7, 17, 8:47 am
  #1
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UA Refund of cancelled ticket prior to 4+ hour delay

Hey FT,

I had to cancel a non-refundable ticket yesterday on the same day as my flight (UA 90). When I cancelled the ticket, the flight status was showing on time. Later in the day, the flight got delayed for over 4 hours due to late inbound aircraft. My question is: Can I request a full refund due to the flight being delayed if I cancelled my ticket while the status was on time?
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Old Dec 7, 17, 9:10 am
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You can request whatever you want on the refunds site but they may not refund you. Donít lie in your refund request though.
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Old Dec 7, 17, 9:11 am
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Originally Posted by brodes View Post
Hey FT,

I had to cancel a non-refundable ticket yesterday on the same day as my flight (UA 90). When I cancelled the ticket, the flight status was showing on time. Later in the day, the flight got delayed for over 4 hours due to late inbound aircraft. My question is: Can I request a full refund due to the flight being delayed if I cancelled my ticket while the status was on time?
sure, you can request, but they are going to deny it almost certainly. Once you cancel, you cancel.
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Old Dec 7, 17, 9:39 am
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Originally Posted by j1j2j38 View Post
sure, you can request, but they are going to deny it almost certainly. Once you cancel, you cancel.
Not if you cancel because the flight wouldn't get you there in time.
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Old Dec 7, 17, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by caverunner17 View Post
Not if you cancel because the flight wouldn't get you there in time.
If the delay had already posted, cancelling and requesting a refund would have been within policy. The OP cancelled before a delay had been indicated.
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Old Dec 7, 17, 9:48 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
If the delay had already posted, cancelling and requesting a refund would have been within policy. The OP cancelled before a delay had been indicated.
It's still likely a "grey" zone. I doubt the CSR will know exactly when the delay was indicated - but rather just that there was a significant delay on the flight and he canceled. Is it ethical? Probably not. But frankly, what's the worst that happens? They deny your request and you're still at the same situation you're at now? If it were my $$$ at stake, I'd try for it.
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Old Dec 7, 17, 9:57 am
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If the question is, "is it okay to lie to UA about my reason for canceling in the hope of scoring a fee free refund?" my answer would be "no."
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Old Dec 7, 17, 11:39 am
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You can request whatever you want: I can certainly ask Home Depot if they will let me take a new fridge home for free - the answer rightly would be "No." As would the answer, here.

At the time of cancellation, your flight was on time as scheduled, and for whatever your reason, you had to cancel, so did so. At re-booking, you'll need to pay the re-issue fee. The delay later was not a factor in your decision. To me, asking for (and receiving) a refund would be fraudulent.

Let me preface this by saying, a few years ago now, I was booked on a flight, and about two days prior, I found out I had to cancel. This was an XXX-ORD-YYY connection. My wife was going XXX-ORD-ZZZ, on the same first flight. She wasn't canceling. I decided to hold out on my cancel - for one, I figured it would be a good chance to use the BP to go to the gate and then say goodbye there - on another, I saw the XXX-ORD flight was full and/or overbooked, so wanted to see if I could get VDB'd and refund anyway. Turned out they didn't need volunteers - waited right up until almost departure time, and called and canceled. About an hour later, the ORD-YYY flight I had been booked on started getting delayed. An hour or two later, it outright canceled. I was annoyed - obviously, would have been really great if I could get a refund for a trip I needed to cancel anyway (or they needed a VDB). But the point is I knew there was no justification for them to refund it fully - I needed to cancel - then did, irrespective of UAs cancellation. Their cancellation happened afterwards.

Sometimes, things in life suck, and that did, as does this for you (in a, might I add, very, very first-world problem way). Sometimes, you win, and sometimes you lose - in this case, you lost (and only sort of - because on the day earlier or later - it probably would have just been part of life). So my advice is to take it like that, and move on.

On another note, some in this forum would say this is one reason why you should wait until the absolute last moment possible to cancel a ticket - as things like this do happen. If your cancellation was done after the delay - you would have been entitled to the refund (as noted by another poster above).
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Old Dec 7, 17, 12:49 pm
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As emcampbe mentioned, this is a good reminder for people, that if you are going to cancel a ticket, do so at the last minute, as a scenario like this would have been avoided. The only time you shouldn't is if you need to cancel a ticket with an airline because you are buying another ticket on the same airline that would overlap the flight times and you want to use your status for benefits on that flight.

I still think it's worth a try though OP, but doubt it would be granted.
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Old Dec 7, 17, 1:08 pm
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Originally Posted by getagb View Post
You can request whatever you want on the refunds site but they may not refund you. Donít lie in your refund request though.
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
If the question is, "is it okay to lie to UA about my reason for canceling in the hope of scoring a fee free refund?" my answer would be "no."
I agree OP should not lie (for ethical and legal reasons). However, they don't need to be upfront either.

I'd phrase it as "On x day UA1234 was significantly delayed and I cancelled my flight. Please refund."

If UA is on the ball, great. If they aren't, even better
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Old Dec 7, 17, 1:31 pm
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Agreed with the comments here. I would not compromise my integrity and lie about this to get a refund. Here is some more context:

We cancelled due to my son developing a high fever that landed us in the ER the night before. Now, he was not planning on coming with us, but we could not leave him with family after that. I have the hospital discharge papers that should qualify me for a refund based on the policy I read. I see requesting a refund for a delay as a simpler process. That's why I reached out with this question. Wasn't sure of it was clear cut or not. Sounds like it ends up in a grey area. Will probably stick to the original reason when requesting refund.

Great point about waiting until the last second before cancelling. I just feel bad leaving what was a packed flight with empty seats for folk trying to squeeze onboard. But need to lookout for myself first...
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Old Dec 7, 17, 1:41 pm
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Originally Posted by brodes View Post
We cancelled due to my son developing a high fever that landed us in the ER the night before. Now, he was not planning on coming with us, but we could not leave him with family after that. I have the hospital discharge papers that should qualify me for a refund based on the policy I read. I see requesting a refund for a delay as a simpler process. That's why I reached out with this question. Wasn't sure of it was clear cut or not. Sounds like it ends up in a grey area. Will probably stick to the original reason when requesting refund.
You are extremely unlikely to receive a refund due to an illness. What UA will provide is a refund of the change fee when you later attempt to use the credit from that cancelled flight. So, you'd book a new flight (for the same traveler), pay the appropriate change fee, and then request a refund of that fee by providing the documentation from the hospital. If the new ticket is less expensive, you'll get the difference as an Electronic Travel Certificate, good for one year (for any traveler). Per UA policy, the only way to get a refund due to illness is to get a doctor's note saying that travel is inadvisable for the entire remainder of the ticket's validity.

Originally Posted by brodes View Post
Great point about waiting until the last second before cancelling. I just feel bad leaving what was a packed flight with empty seats for folk trying to squeeze onboard. But need to lookout for myself first...
No need to feel bad. UA expects a certain number of no-shows and factors that into its inventory. Your seat would have been assigned to someone else at the gate.
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Old Dec 7, 17, 2:08 pm
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Originally Posted by brodes View Post
Hey FT,

I had to cancel a non-refundable ticket yesterday on the same day as my flight (UA 90). When I cancelled the ticket, the flight status was showing on time. Later in the day, the flight got delayed for over 4 hours due to late inbound aircraft. My question is: Can I request a full refund due to the flight being delayed if I cancelled my ticket while the status was on time?
At the end the flight was only delayed about 1:40min and arrived a little over an hour late. so don't think it will work.
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Old Dec 7, 17, 2:29 pm
  #14
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Originally Posted by brodes View Post
We cancelled due to my son developing a high fever that landed us in the ER the night before. Now, he was not planning on coming with us, but we could not leave him with family after that. I have the hospital discharge papers that should qualify me for a refund based on the policy I read. I see requesting a refund for a delay as a simpler process. That's why I reached out with this question. Wasn't sure of it was clear cut or not. Sounds like it ends up in a grey area. Will probably stick to the original reason when requesting refund.
You are extremely unlikely to receive a refund due to an illness. What UA will provide is a refund of the change fee when you later attempt to use the credit from that cancelled flight. So, you'd book a new flight (for the same traveler), pay the appropriate change fee, and then request a refund of that fee by providing the documentation from the hospital. If the new ticket is less expensive, you'll get the difference as an Electronic Travel Certificate, good for one year (for any traveler). Per UA policy, the only way to get a refund due to illness is to get a doctor's note saying that travel is inadvisable for the entire remainder of the ticket's validity. .
For more on the process, see the wiki of Consolidated "Refunds/Cancellations Due to Illness/Death" Thread [Merged]

Once you have the letter, it is a fairly simple process to get a refund of the change fees. Note this can apply to other traveling family members
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Old Dec 7, 17, 3:28 pm
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UA spends a lot on anti-fraud software. This one is an easy red flag, e.g. time of cancellation precedes time of delay. So, no it won't work on those facts alone.

For what it's worth, travel insurance which covers stuff is pretty cheap and gets you a full cash payment. No need to deal with rebooking, getting fee waivers and those messes.
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