Right now, the travel industry is recovering from a weekend of record-setting travel. Of course, the 4th of July is always busy. But this year saw more than 11 million people come through U.S. airports. Although the long weekend may now be over, the mayhem is not. As travelers scramble to get home, they face a burning question: How can I get an airline ticket refund?
Thousands of flights have been cancelled in the past few days as airlines try to get planes off the ground and help travelers reach their destinations. This summer has already seen airlines cancelling flights, but the industry reached a boiling point over the long weekend.
Here are some of the best options for air travelers looking for a refund.
How Can I Get an Airline Ticket Refund?
Air travel probably hasn’t been this chaotic since the first breakout of Covid-19 in March 2020. So, what does the industry landscape look like heading back into the work week? Travel + Leisure reports the following:
“More than 1,000 flights were delayed and more than 100 canceled into or within the United States on Tuesday, according to flight tracker FlightAware. That comes a day after more than 250 flights were canceled and more than 3,800 were delayed as millions traveled through American airports for the July 4 holiday weekend.”
The stats may look dismal. However, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg wasted no time providing resources for air travelers this weekend. On July 2, Buttigieg shared a government resource for consumers.
Flight canceled? You are entitled to a prompt refund.
Learn more about your rights at our Consumer Protection site. https://t.co/SuUOobh3St
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) July 2, 2022
“Airlines offer miles as compensation for some travel issues, and you can often negotiate on this. […] But you are entitled to cash refunds for canceled flights – that’s a requirement that we will continue to enforce.”
ABC News also examined the question of air travel refunds ahead of July 4th. The outlet reported:
“Under federal law, consumers are entitled to a refund if the airline cancels a flight, regardless of the reason, and the consumer chooses not to travel.”
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the same principle applies if an airline makes a “significant schedule change and/or significantly delays a flight.” But as ABC News also notes, the agency has not fully defined what qualifies a delay as “significant.”
Finally, airlines will often offer travelers vouchers for future flights. But according to Scott’s Cheap Flights founder Scott Keyes, passengers can still opt for a full cash refund. As Keyes tells ABC News, though, travelers may have to call the airline in question and “demand to get that cash refund.”
What Else to Expect
If a flight is oversold, airlines may deny passengers boarding. But according to the DOT, these instances require airlines to give customers an option to receive compensation in exchange for their seats. And as ABC News reports, “[T]here is no limit on the amount of money or vouchers the airline can offer you, and passengers are free to negotiate.”
Of course, there are some situations in which travelers may not be entitled to a refund. A traveler may purchase a nonrefundable ticket, for instance, or find themselves unable to travel due to personal health reasons. These customers can only get refunds under “very limited circumstances.”
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.