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Schedule Change(Back to 2hrs)/Cancelation Refund,New DOT ruling,UA processing refunds

Schedule Change(Back to 2hrs)/Cancelation Refund,New DOT ruling,UA processing refunds

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Old Aug 28, 20, 8:14 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: paperwastage
Wiki Link
6 June 2020
Now posted on Jetstream -- UA's Travel Agency Rebooking Parameters



UA has stated
On June 5, 2020, United updated its guidance to its contact agents to provide refunds for all flights that had a carrier-initiated schedule change of more than two (2) hours. This change in guidance applies to all passengers, both moving forward and retrospectively, including for carrier-initiated schedule changes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wording on UA's Schedule changes page is still vague

12 May 2020 *New* (2nd) Guidance on DOT Refunds
4. May airlines and ticket agents retroactively apply new refund policies?
The Department interprets the statutory prohibition against unfair or deceptive practices to cover actions by airlines and ticket agents applying changes retroactively to their refund policies that affect consumers negatively. The refund policy in place at the time the passenger purchased the ticket is the policy that is applicable to that ticket. The Aviation Enforcement Office would consider the denial of refunds in contravention of the policies that were in effect at the time of the ticket purchase to be an unfair and deceptive practice.The Department interprets the statutory prohibition against unfair or deceptive practices to cover actions by airlines and ticket agents applying changes retroactively to their refund policies that affect consumers negatively. The refund policy in place at the time the passenger purchased the ticket is the policy that is applicable to that ticket. The Aviation Enforcement Office would consider the denial of refunds in contravention of the policies that were in effect at the time of the ticket purchase to be an unfair and deceptive practice.
Choosing between UA Electronic Travel Certificate (ETC) vs Future Flight Credit (FFC)
4 April 2020
We’re extending electronic certificates
To give you more flexibility when you travel, electronic certificates are now valid for 24 months from the date they were issued. This includes all currently valid electronic certificates and all new ones issued on or after April 1, 2020.

This policy change will automatically appear, but it may not be reflected everywhere right away. We’d appreciate your patience as we work to make that happen.
As of APR 3:
Both US Department of Transportation and European Commission affirms that a refund must be provided for airline-cancelled flights upon passenger request.
ENFORCEMENT NOTICE REGARDING REFUNDS BY CARRIERS GIVEN THE UNPRECEDENTED IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY ON AIR TRAVEL
European Commission reaffirming on 18 MARCH 2020 that a refund is (still) an option due to cancelled flights despite COVID-19.

Asof 3 April
According to jetstream (UA's travel agency reference resource):

If schedule change > 6 hours (or cancellation with no rebook) a refund is allowed.
If you bought via OTA (Any Online Travel Agency like expedia/orbitz/), and want to perform changes/refund due to the waiver
1) go via OTA first, request cancel per United Jetstream rules
2) if OTA resists and only offers travel credit (instead of refund per Jetstream rules), try contacting UA directly to authorized refund, then contact OTA. Once OTA sees refund, you should get your money back from OTA
3) see [url=https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/32635969-post2939.html]this post[url] for more information



For flights departing European Union, UA is required to provide a refund within 7 days upon passenger request for cancellation or schedule change in excess of 5 hours (see Section B).
The Notice of Passenger Rights granted by EC261/2004 is linked on this UA page.

For purposes of EC261/2004, the following countries are considered "Community member states."
EU means the 27 EU countries , including Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion Island, Mayotte, Saint-Martin (French Antilles), the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It does not include the Faeroe Islands, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.


US DOT position from 2011 concerning cancelled flights and refunds (page 23129)
We reject some carriers’ and carrier associations’ assertions that carriers are not required to refund a passenger’s fare when a flight is cancelled if the carrier can accommodate the passenger with other transportation options after the cancellation. We find it to be manifestly unfair for a carrier to fail to provide the transportation contracted for and then to refuse to provide a refund if the passenger finds the offered rerouting unacceptable (e.g., greatly delayed or otherwise inconvenient) and he or she no longer wishes to travel. Since at least the time of an Industry Letter of July 15, 1996 the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office has advised carriers that refusing to refund a non-refundable fare when a flight is canceled and the passenger wishes to cancel is a violation of 49 U.S.C. 41712 (unfair or deceptive practices) and would subject a carrier to enforcement action.



If you believe UA is not refunding "in good faith" and/or outright violating the policy/rules above, your options are (in no particular order or combination):
  • Make an attempt to reach out to UA again and escalate to supervisor and/or put in a refund request on UA page.
  • File complaint with US DoT or relevant Community member state enforcement agency.
  • File a chargeback with your credit card issuer under "Services not provided" after an attempt (note date/time etc) of resolving with UA has been made. ***CAUTION*** Under VISA rules (Table 11-95), a chargeback has to be initiated within 120 days from the date the service is expected to be delivered. As such, if you don't file a chargeback until you are eligible for a refund under UA's "no refund until ticket expires" or UA subsequently deciding to extend all ticket validity beyond 12 months, you may find you will no longer be able to initiate a chargeback. Mastercard should provide similar timeframes. Need confirmation on AMEX/Discover.
***CAUTION*** UA have been offering Electronic Travel Certificates (ETC) as an option instead of exchanging your ticket for future travel. You may be no longer be eligible for a refund even after ticket expiration or be able to initiate a chargeback if you accept an ETC.

United made a controversial change to their refund policy due to schedule changes during the current COVID-19 situation. United's previous schedule change policy allow for refunds if scheduled changed > 2 hours. If you wish to proceed with a charge back due to UA retroactively apply this change, the following links (policies no longer current) could serve to support your case with your credit card issuer and/or with a regulatory complaint.
https://www.united.com/web/en-US/con...arameters.aspx (This links to policy in effect prior to COVID-19)
https://www.united.com/web/format/pdf/agency/bookticket/AgencyRebookingParameters2016_Print.pdf (This links to policy in effect prior to COVID-19)
BACKUP link - http://archive.is/q8jDz (This links to policy in effect prior to COVID-19 and is not a UA link)


Note: UA is being very reluctant to provide refunds. However UA is allowing "free" mileage redeposit

Related thread: Check Your UA Itineraries for Schedule Changes and what to do after one
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Old Mar 25, 20, 5:00 pm
  #781  
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Originally Posted by Cameron B View Post
Is this one for a chargeback?
charge back or DOT complaint.
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Old Mar 25, 20, 5:23 pm
  #782  
 
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Originally Posted by Cameron B View Post

At the time of purchase, the contract of carriage stated: You can receive a refund on original fare if you do not want to travel because your original flight was canceled and you are delayed 2 hours or more.

The US DOT states, additionally, "If your flight is cancelled and you choose to cancel your trip as a result, you are entitled to a refund for the unused transportation – even for non-refundable tickets. You are also entitled to a refund for any bag fee that you paid, and any extras you may have purchased, such as a seat assignment.”

This doesn't seem right. I know airlines are trying to keep cash and make it through this, but trying to shove new contracts of carriage down a customers' throat that they did not agree to at time of purchase seems poor form and likely not legal. That's why it's a contract to begin with.
Well - On the one hand you did agree to a CoC that the airline has the right to modify.

On the other hand, DOT says an airline can't change a term in your contract after your purchase if it has a significant negative effect on you.

UA will tell DOT it doesn't have a significant negative effect on you - you will need to tell DOT that it does.
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Old Mar 25, 20, 6:33 pm
  #783  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Give LH an EU261 claim and let's know how it goes. Given the recent timeframe, no reports from other yet --- you can try checking the LH forum.
Disagree; UA has the money; therefore, only UA can refund it.
Originally Posted by tagflyer View Post
I bought it from UA. I will try to call UA next week and see what they say.
Right.

Originally Posted by Cameron B View Post
At the time of purchase, the contract of carriage stated: You can receive a refund on original fare if you do not want to travel because your original flight was canceled and you are delayed 2 hours or more.
No it didn't. Their schedule change policy said that; the CoC didn't. (That doesn't mean that I think it's morally right or that it doesn't contravene DOT regulations). The schedule change policy is informal and subject to change at any time.

Originally Posted by Cameron B View Post
This doesn't seem right. I know airlines are trying to keep cash and make it through this, but trying to shove new contracts of carriage down a customers' throat that they did not agree to at time of purchase seems poor form and likely not legal. That's why it's a contract to begin with.

Is this one for a chargeback?
Please start with a DOT complaint. Personally, I would wait to try a chargeback until the DOT complaint is complete, because it would be a pain to win both. But make sure you won't be running into any reporting deadlines for the chargeback.

Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Well - On the one hand you did agree to a CoC that the airline has the right to modify.
The CoC wasn't modified. It still hasn't been -- there are no changes to the CoC since December. The rule in the CoC gives them the right to change the flight by up to 7 days before they have to give in and offer a refund.
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Old Mar 25, 20, 6:33 pm
  #784  
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Originally Posted by dilanesp View Post
Let's say a person loses their job (in normal times), doesn't qualify for unemployment, and has $10,000 in savings. So the person, who owes you some money, comes to you and says "I can't pay you that $2000 I owe you". And you reply "what are you talking about, you have $10,000 in savings. You can pay me". The debtor replies "I am not working right now. I need that $10,000 to keep me going and pay expenses until I have another job. I can't pay you". And you reply "of course you can pay me, that $10,000 isn't going to matter anyway because your unemployment is for an unknown duration".

You may think this is good reasoning. I doubt any financial planner, businessperson, or other fiduciary would think so.
The person you are referring to is a corporation with multi billion in revenue. But let’s explore that.

So in the example you provided, the person who is asking for money back is asking for less than a $0.01 back not $2k. (UA has $6 billion cash). We shouldn’t even be having this conversation if your fictional person has $10k in the bank.

But let’s go along with the the $2k. The person who loan the money has much much much much less assets than your fictional unemployed person with $10k in the bank and you are saying the person with less assets is NOT justified in utilizing whatever resources they have available including civil action?!?!?

As I indicated earlier, we’re not getting anywhere and just have to agree to disagree. If someone post here what their options are if flights is cancelled and not reaccommodated, I will continue to include options including chargeback. That person can decide what next steps they will take.
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Last edited by seawolf; Mar 25, 20 at 6:54 pm
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Old Mar 25, 20, 6:44 pm
  #785  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Give LH an EU261 claim and let's know how it goes. Given the recent timeframe, no reports from other yet --- you can try checking the LH forum.
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Disagree; UA has the money; therefore, only UA can refund it.
I agree with jsloan. If OP was seeking a delay compensation or failure to provide duty of care or even a downgrade reimbursement, file with LH.

Since flight was not operated, the ticket coupon hasn’t been lifted by LH and submitted for settlement. UA is still holding funds.
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Old Mar 25, 20, 6:56 pm
  #786  
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Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
I agree with jsloan. If OP was seeking a delay compensation or failure to provide duty of care or even a downgrade reimbursement, file with LH.

Since flight was not operated, the ticket coupon hasn’t been lifted by LH and submitted for settlement. UA is still holding funds.
Does not the flight operator have a duty for an under 14-day notice cancellation under EU261 (perhaps a better discussion for that thread). Thought that onus was on the flight operator, not the marketing carrier.

Agree refund comes for the marketing carrier, but also EU261 compensation??
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Old Mar 25, 20, 7:15 pm
  #787  
 
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Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
The person you are referring to is a corporation with multi billion in revenue. But let’s explore that."
No, it is a corporation that USED to have huge amounts of revenue. It is earning next to none right now.

So in the example you provided, the person who is asking for money back is asking for less than a $0.01 back not $2k. (UA has $6 billion cash). We shouldn’t even be having this conversation if your fictional person has $10k in the bank.

But let’s go along with the the $2k. The person who loan the money has much much much much less assets than your fictional unemployed person with $10k in the bank and you are saying the person with less assets is NOT justified in utilizing whatever resources they have available including civil action?!?!?
Nope..I am saying that it is incorrect to say that the debtor "has the money" to pay the creditor. Since my hypothetical takes place in normal times, perhaps the creditor can go to court. But the statement "you have the money to pay me" is a literally true but financially illiterate statement.

As I indicated earlier, we’re not getting anywhere and just have to agree to disagree. If someone post here what their options are if flights is cancelled and not reaccommodated, I will continue to include options including chargeback. That person can decide what next steps they will take.
​​​​​​As I said, my issue isn't with presenting chargeback as an option..It's with contractual interpretations and moral claims that ignore the situation United is actually in and pretend this is no different than any airline denying a refund.
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Old Mar 25, 20, 7:43 pm
  #788  
 
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United's useless waiver

United's waiver is BS. I haven't been caught in it, but was looking for a May transpacific itinerary. "no change fees" but only the value of the ticket is preserved, not the class of travel. Also, no refund of downward price difference. I did not buy the ticket.
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Old Mar 25, 20, 8:42 pm
  #789  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Does not the flight operator have a duty for an under 14-day notice cancellation under EU261 (perhaps a better discussion for that thread). Thought that onus was on the flight operator, not the marketing carrier.

Agree refund comes for the marketing carrier, but also EU261 compensation??
Little confused by your post and maybe my prior post was not clear

If OP is seeking duty of care or delay compensation (not sure what latest perspective on EC261/2004 is), then file with LH.

If OP is seeking a refund, file with UA as LH doesn't have the funds for attributed to this ticket. If LH operates the flight or exchange the ticket for alternative travel arrangements, the flight coupon will be submitted to UA for settlement. UA will then pay LH the value of the coupon.

Since the flight is cancelled and I'm reading that passenger didn't use the ticket on another flight booked by LH, the the flight coupon should have a status of OPEN which signifies available for use or exchange and UA has the funds.

If OP files with LH for a refund, LH is just going to tell them to file with UA or foward the request to UA.
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Old Mar 25, 20, 8:55 pm
  #790  
 
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Originally Posted by ContPlat View Post
United's waiver is BS. I haven't been caught in it, but was looking for a May transpacific itinerary. "no change fees" but only the value of the ticket is preserved, not the class of travel. Also, no refund of downward price difference. I did not buy the ticket.
You should get an ETC on the price difference you can apply to another ticket.
​​​​​
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Old Mar 25, 20, 9:06 pm
  #791  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
None of that is true.


Flights booked prior to March 2, for travel through the end of May, are eligible for free changes. All flights booked in March are eligible for free changes, and expect that to be extended once April rolls around.

Furthermore, if the airline cancels your flight, they don't then charge you a change fee to try to use the value.

While I don't agree with UA's policy, and I think that they should give free redeposits for flights that have been cancelled, what you're describing here just isn't true. I do agree with the advice to file a DOT complaint if you want a free redeposit, though.
I made another phone call to UA. Here's what they said. They gave this example.. you book a flight for a date in March, the flight gets cancelled by you or the airline (it doesn't matter from their perspective).. and you use the miles on the ticket to book another flight in April. If you (the person who booked it) needs to change it again, e.g: the date or destination doesn't work out.. then you will be charged the $125 change fee still, because anything past March that requires more than one change, they will still require the $125 fee.

But I hope you're right that they do the right thing and extend the free change policy into April.

In my situation, with the current information, if I try booking another flight with UA using miles to Japan for some date in April.. and then Japan bans all foreigners and I cannot use the flight.. and need to change the flight to a different one that makes sense.. they will still demand the $125 fee. If UA extends the free change waiver to April then that would be good for everyone and myself.
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Old Mar 25, 20, 9:08 pm
  #792  
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Originally Posted by dilanesp View Post
You should get an ETC on the price difference you can apply to another ticket.
​​​​​
Beleive the OP was referring to a purchase made in March if so, there is no residual value on a change.
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Old Mar 25, 20, 9:46 pm
  #793  
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Originally Posted by ContPlat View Post
United's waiver is BS. I haven't been caught in it, but was looking for a May transpacific itinerary. "no change fees" but only the value of the ticket is preserved, not the class of travel. Also, no refund of downward price difference. I did not buy the ticket.
not sure what you mean by ‘only the value of the ticket is preserved, not the class of travel’.

that has always been the case. Typically, you pay $X for whatever the itinerary is, whether in Economy, Polaris...or whatever. If you decide to cancel, the $X value of the ticket has always remained in that PNR for use (just typically, requiring a change fee to access).

Class of original booking doesn’t matter. Either way, when you rebook, you can simply choose the class of service (and destination) you want for the new flight. You then pay a fare difference if the new fare is higher, or nothing if the fare is the same.

The only recent difference is if the new fare is lower, they aren’t returning that in an ETC (fares booked starting this month). I agree that is pretty bad. But either way, class of service in original or new booking is pretty irrelevant - it goes based on value, which has always been the case.
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Old Mar 25, 20, 11:29 pm
  #794  
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Originally Posted by treepuppy View Post
I made another phone call to UA. Here's what they said. They gave this example.. you book a flight for a date in March, the flight gets cancelled by you or the airline (it doesn't matter from their perspective).. and you use the miles on the ticket to book another flight in April. If you (the person who booked it) needs to change it again, e.g: the date or destination doesn't work out.. then you will be charged the $125 change fee still, because anything past March that requires more than one change, they will still require the $125 fee.
I've tried twice to come up with a good summary that covers every case, but I've failed. Airfare is very complicated. Suffice it to say that the UA agent is partially correct; you may be able to get additional, voluntary, free changes beyond the first, but there are scenarios where you might not. In many cases, especially with mileage tickets, it's going to be at the agent's discretion. Involuntary changes -- when the airline cancels the flight -- are a completely different beast.

Originally Posted by treepuppy View Post
But I hope you're right that they do the right thing and extend the free change policy into April.
They will do something; they will either extend the current waiver or create a new, more limited one (e.g., no change fees for all flights booked in April for travel through June). They almost have to (and, besides, their competition will too).

Originally Posted by treepuppy View Post
In my situation, with the current information, if I try booking another flight with UA using miles to Japan for some date in April.. and then Japan bans all foreigners and I cannot use the flight.. and need to change the flight to a different one that makes sense.. they will still demand the $125 fee. If UA extends the free change waiver to April then that would be good for everyone and myself.
I can't imagine any scenario where UA would charge a change fee after a flight that they didn't operate. If the flight operated, but you weren't able to take it due to a government restriction, then.. maybe.

That said, there are few scenarios I can think of where booking international travel in April would make sense unless you are a returning resident of that country or there is a family emergency there. There's a reason that UA has cut 90%+ of its international schedule in April. These restrictions are going to take time to unwind, and you risk buying a ticket to go to a destination, only to find that you can't do anything once you arrive.

Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
not sure what you mean by ‘only the value of the ticket is preserved, not the class of travel’.
I think OP wanted to be able to purchase a ticket at discount prices today and then be able to apply that to the same route, on another date, with the fare difference waived. So, for example, if there were a sale on EWR-SFO P fares next week, you could buy one of those, and then if you couldn't make the flight, move it to an EWR-SFO flight in June.
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Old Mar 26, 20, 3:23 am
  #795  
 
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I cancelled a ticket EWR-MCO-EWR in April after 5 schedule changes. Same day flight to see family. The new itinerary had me in MCO for an hour not 10 as I had booked originally. Agent refunded $800 ticket. Online status says

Ticket status: This reservation has been canceled and refunded/voided as applicable.

So I think I am good?

Will advise when $ back to cc.
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