Some airlines refusing to offer refunds for cancellations as mandated by the federal government

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — Airlines may be grounding flights during the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn’t mean passengers are avoiding turbulence.

Julia Morales was all set to take a weeklong vacation to Mexico when coronavirus hit. Volaris canceled her flight.

One month later, she’s still being told she won’t be refunded her $1,200 even though the United States Department of Transportation policy is clear.

“If they cancel a flight, they are required to give you a refund. Those are clear DOT rules,” explained Clint Henderson, a travel expert with the popular travel website “The Points Guy.”

Morales says she has sent multiple emails and has spent hours waiting on hold to talk to the airline, but doesn’t believe she’ll get her money back.

“It’s completely maddening. You trust an airline and book a flight understanding everyone is impacted by COVID-19, but at the same time, you need your money back,” she explained.

So, what should you do? The FOX31 Problem Solvers contacted a customer service representative at the airline Aeromexico to inquire about getting a refund for a canceled flight and were promised our flight would be refunded because the airline made the cancellation.

However, Aeromexico is now refusing to refund the money, offering a voucher instead, in clear violation of U.S. Department of Transportation Policy.

Aeromexico sent the FOX31 Problem Solvers the following statement:

“Pending legal matters limit what we can say at this time. Unlike US-based airlines, Aeromexico did not receive stimulus money and we are working to address both health and economic issues in this extraordinary time.”

Henderson says airlines based in the United States have done a better job of refunding customers.

“By and large, the US airlines industry has been pretty good to consumers,” he said.

If an airline cancels your flight and does not issue a refund, Henderson tells the Problem Solvers you should file a complaint the Department of Transportation.

So far, around 25,000 people have filed complaints, most regarding refunds not received, which prompted another warning from the US DOT this week to airlines, urging them to do the right thing.

Henderson also says you should dispute the charge with your credit card.

“The credit card companies are overwhelmed right now, but you shouldn’t be on the book for that bill,” he said.

Even if you canceled your flight because of COVID-19, Henderson says be patient, because lawmakers are also working to get you a refund.

Several Democratic lawmakers in Congress have sponsored new legislation that would require airlines refund travelers who canceled their flights because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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