My husband and I recently took our youngest daughter to Florida during her school Spring Break. We took in the local sights, and everything was great… until our last night. As we were about to shut our eyes, I checked the airline app one last time, just to make sure all was well with our plans. To my surprise, I found that the airline, without so much as a text or email notification, had canceled our trip home. UGH, right?
I quickly found that every single flight to Detroit on any airline over the next two days was 100% sold out. The only flight I could find to anywhere close to Michigan was leaving late the next night and going into Newark. I grabbed it, booked an Uber to the departing city, found a hotel in Newark for the overnight layover and a flight back to Detroit first thing the following morning. All, of course, at unexpected additional costs.
When I contacted our original airline about getting our money back for the cancellation, it did what airlines do these days: offered me eCredit for future use. But I did not want credit toward another flight. So, I did a little quick research and found that we didn't have to accept eCredit. Federal law provides that when the airline cancels a flight and a consumer chooses not to travel, a full refund is due. This is true even if the ticket was purchased with eCredit from other canceled travel.
A full refund is also due if the consumer chooses not to travel after the airline makes a significant schedule change or causes a significant delay, or if the consumer is involuntarily moved to a lower class of service or unable to take advantage of optional services such as seat upgrades or in-flight Wi-Fi due to flight cancellation.
I hope you never find yourself in a circumstance like ours, but, if you do, know that you don't have to accept airline eCredit for your trouble. Make sure that you request a refund within 24 hours or in your first conversation with the airlines after the refund-triggering event and get your money back.
And may your travels be safe, smooth, and on time!