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Can airlines cancel flights and book you on another without asking?


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Hi all..........I had a cruise booked with NCL on Apr.30th that has been cancelled. I am waiting until the 13th as they requested to fill in the form for a refund as none of us are sure when we can cruise with safety again. My hotel called me themselves and cancelled 2 weeks ago (Miami Hampton Inn) which I really appreciated as that was one more thing I didn't have to deal with. My airline, however....American.... is another story. I have been monitoring the flights on our dates and have not cancelled as yet because I was waiting to see what the cruise lines did first. Yesterday, the site I use posted no flights available, today also, so I searched out our reservation and they dropped all but one non-stop for my dates and moved us to that one.....no email....no notification.......just sneaky silence on their part. Even if the cruise was still on it wouldn't have worked, early morning return before the ship would have docked!  I am still not calling them until I deal with the cruise next week, but I can't believe they did it this way. I am still hoping since they cancelled my flight I will get a refund, but this sure puts them on my " don't fly list" with Spirit, so I do not want a credit. I am 81 and may not want to fly again, who knows?  I am sure so sad about our beautiful cruises though, they are my happy place, as they are for so many of us.  I just was wondering if anyone else had their airline pull a fast one like this on them.    Thanks in advance for any info and please stay safe and well out there............Patti

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Yes, airlines will change your flight to another one if your flight is cancelled.

 

Usually, you are notified after the fact and have a set amount of time to request a change.

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American Airlines changed my flights for my May 17 cruise (which I will cancel if NCL doesn't do so) without telling me.  I saw it because I had been checking every day to see if it had been canceled.  What had been non-stop flights both ways between O'Hare and Heathrow were changed to flights with layovers in Miami on the way over and Dallas on the return flight.   The departure time on the outbound flight changed by about 3 hours.    I have no idea when they were going to tell me.   I canceled, believing they were obligated to refund my fare due to such significant changes.   All I got was a message that "the value of your ticket is preserved" and to call them when  I am ready to re-book.   I am not going to try to call them now, as I probably wouldn't be able to get through.   But I am not happy at all.  I feel a refund is in order, and I will follow up.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, pattycake1939 said:

Hi all..........I had a cruise booked with NCL on Apr.30th that has been cancelled. I am waiting until the 13th as they requested to fill in the form for a refund as none of us are sure when we can cruise with safety again. My hotel called me themselves and cancelled 2 weeks ago (Miami Hampton Inn) which I really appreciated as that was one more thing I didn't have to deal with. My airline, however....American.... is another story. I have been monitoring the flights on our dates and have not cancelled as yet because I was waiting to see what the cruise lines did first. Yesterday, the site I use posted no flights available, today also, so I searched out our reservation and they dropped all but one non-stop for my dates and moved us to that one.....no email....no notification.......just sneaky silence on their part. Even if the cruise was still on it wouldn't have worked, early morning return before the ship would have docked!  I am still not calling them until I deal with the cruise next week, but I can't believe they did it this way. I am still hoping since they cancelled my flight I will get a refund, but this sure puts them on my " don't fly list" with Spirit, so I do not want a credit. I am 81 and may not want to fly again, who knows?  I am sure so sad about our beautiful cruises though, they are my happy place, as they are for so many of us.  I just was wondering if anyone else had their airline pull a fast one like this on them.    Thanks in advance for any info and please stay safe and well out there............Patti

Airlines will automatically rebook  you when flights cancel or are delayed. 

 

That particular airline will give you credit for any cancelled flights. During the current period, you will not be charged the $200 cancellation fee for flights cancelled. There are no cash refunds unless you purchased a refundable ticket. Similar to cruise fares, you agree to a sales contract when you purchase your airline ticket. 

 

  • Bought your ticket before March 1, 2020, for travel through May 31, 2020, you can rebook without change fees.
  • Booked your trip March 1 – April 30, 2020, for all future travel, you can also change your reservation at a later date without change fees.
Edited by BirdTravels
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4 minutes ago, BirdTravels said:

Airlines will automatically rebook  you when flights cancel or are delayed. 

 

That particular airline will give you credit for any cancelled flights. During the current period, you will not be charged the $200 cancellation fee for flights cancelled. There are no cash refunds unless you purchased a refundable ticket. Similar to cruise fares, you agree to a sales contract when you purchase your airline ticket. 

 

  • Bought your ticket before March 1, 2020, for travel through May 31, 2020, you can rebook without change fees.
  • Booked your trip March 1 – April 30, 2020, for all future travel, you can also change your reservation at a later date without change fees.

This has changed if airline cancels they will push for a voucher but if you push for refund they have to refund

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This is from the Department of Transportation site.  I would say I am entitled to a refund, though I expect I will have to fight.  They canceled my original flights and I chose not to be rebooked on their replacement flights.  

 

Am I Entitled to a Refund?

When the airline is at fault:

Passengers are often entitled to a refund of the ticket price and associated fees when the airline is at fault.

  • Cancelled Flight – A passenger is entitled to a refund if the airline cancelled a flight, regardless of the reason, and the passenger chooses not to be rebooked on a new flight on that airline.
     
  • Schedule Change/Significant Delay - A passenger is entitled to a refund if the airline made a significant schedule change and/or significantly delays a flight and the passenger chooses not to travel.
     
    • In some situations, you may be entitled to a refund, including a refund for all optional fees associated with the purchase of your ticket (such as baggage fees, seat upgrades, etc.).
       
    • DOT has not specifically defined “significant delay.”  Whether you are entitled to a refund depends on many factors – including the length of the delay, the length of the flight, and your particular circumstances.  DOT determines whether you are entitled to a refund following a significant delay on a case-by-case basis. 
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I booked my United flights through Expedia - and of course they keep saying unless your trip is withing 72 hours, don't bother us.  I canceled the hotel and shuttle and got confirmation of the refund (but no money yet).  Flight to London was changed once and I said OK (at the time there was a possibility of going).  Changed again with a ridiculous schedule and I said nope, not acceptable - and Expedia site says we'll contact you - yea, right!  So I don't know if my flight has been canceled or what - reservation still showing on United site.  I really don't want credits since I don't think Untied flies to my next (hopefully!) departure port.  I have travel insurance through my CC if it comes to it.

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1. Yes, the airlines can and will re-book you on alternative flights if your original flight needs to be cancelled.  And they should notify you about it when it happens.  American Airlines has done it to me twice in the last couple months.  One time they never notified me. One time, the notification email came in about a week after I discovered the change myself.  So their system is not perfect.  

 

2. I had non-refundable tickets purchased, and when they changed my flight to a time that did not work for me, I CALLED them and cancelled and they refunded me -- however, I used frequent flyer miles, which they returned to my account (waiving the usual fee to do this).  However, they would not immediately refund me about $200 extra that I paid for upgraded seats.  I now know that when they sell you extra leg room seats on top of the base fare, that the extra leg room fee is not refundable.  This is not clearly stated on their website unless you happen to click on a link that give more details on the fare.  Deceptive.  Anyway... the agent told me that while she could not refund it, that there was a website link that I could submit a request for refund with my details and she said they might refund it.  You can try using https://prefunds.aa.com/refunds to submit a refund request if they won't do it in person.  You need to enter your ticket number which the agent can give you if you don't have it.  I have now used this link twice to get a refund of the extra leg room charges they would not otherwise give me in person.  There is a list you pick from to categorize your situation and a box where you can enter a very short description.  I used the category that was something like "flight change not suitable".  I don't recall the exact wording.  That link takes a lot of work to find on their website if you don't have it given to you.  They clearly try to hide it from people who might prefer a refund, but feel forced to take a voucher.

Edited by MeHeartCruising
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23 minutes ago, MeHeartCruising said:

. . . . .  However, they would not immediately refund me about $200 extra that I paid for upgraded seats.  I now know that when they sell you extra leg room seats on top of the base fare, that the extra leg room fee is not refundable.  This is not clearly stated on their website unless you happen to click on a link that give more details on the fare.  Deceptive.  Anyway... the agent told me that while she could not refund it, that there was a website link that I could submit a request for refund with my details and she said they might refund it.  You can try using https://prefunds.aa.com/refunds to submit a refund request if they won't do it in person.  You need to enter your ticket number which the agent can give you if you don't have it.  I have now used this link twice to get a refund of the extra leg room charges they would not otherwise give me in person.  There is a list you pick from to categorize your situation and a box where you can enter a very short description.  I used the category that was something like "flight change not suitable".  I don't recall the exact wording.  That link takes a lot of work to find on their website if you don't have it given to you.  They clearly try to hide it from people who might prefer a refund, but feel forced to take a voucher.

 

Thank you for this information.  I had no idea the cost of upgrading to premium economy isn't refundable.  I will follow that link and try to get the refund I feel I am entitled to.   

 

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3 minutes ago, Joanne G. said:

 

 

Thank you for this information.  I had no idea the cost of upgrading to premium economy isn't refundable.  I will follow that link and try to get the refund I feel I am entitled to.   

 

 

FYI, You can also check the status of your request on that same webpage.  In both of my submissions, the status changed to indicate it had been refunded back to my credit card on about the 2nd day after I submitted it.  The refund showed up on my credit card about one week after that.  The second one was processed about one week ago.  Maybe 10 days.  Your mileage may vary.

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American is shady. They are already on my no fly list for another incident with them. I believe that if the time change of your flight was significant (like more than 2 hours) you are entitled to cancel for a refund. I don't know if there is a time restriction on that so if you already know you can't use it I would do it sooner than later.

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I was booked with American Airlines and they changed my flights.  I called and said those flights won't work and I wanted a refund.  They told me because they changed the flights I could request a refund.  You have to do the cancellation first (I did mine by phone) and then the refund online.  It was less than a week and I got my refund to my CC.

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Cheapoair sent me an email 2 days ago saying the times for my 4/21/20 flight via Philippine Airlines from Manila to JFK were changing, look for another email for details.  First email was marked urgent, have not received another one.  The Philippine Airline web site says all international flights in April are cancelled, and they will not be flying to JFK until June at the earliest.  They tell me I will have a credit which must be used in 12 months, have to go through Cheapoair.  I need a refund, not flying the next 12 months once we get back into the USA.  Time to find another exit from the Philippines. 

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I was supposed to be flying to Italy in late April and returning home on May 19. My flight to Italy was cancelled, but the return flight was still on. That's interesting. I was patient and waited for more info for a week or so. Then called American. They give you the option of getting a call back when its your turn instead of waiting on hold. They called me back in about 20 minutes. The rep was great agreeing that even if I got to Italy, that return flight would also not be going. He processed the refund and it hit my account in about 4 days. 

 

One of the first things I said to the rep was "how are you all holding up? This must be just crazy for you". Did my concern for him help? Not sure. But the staff of airlines and cruise lines have got to be overwhelmed. Just as so many others are with this pandemic. 

 

Bottom line - give them a call and see if you can get the resolution you want. 

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american also did this to me,  but if my next cruise is canceled im saving the call to cancel and get my money back.  since they are the ones that changed it and have me going through texas to go from mia to -dulles iad VA. 

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American changed my flights by about an hour and a half several months ago for a March flight.   I didn't do anything at the time since I could make it work.

 

When Covid hit I took advantage of the ability to cancel these flights with full refund due to the time change.  I had no problems.  Cancelled online and submitted my refund online (different web page) and got my money back no problem.

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Hi again...............to all of you who have taken the time to respond, I thank you so much. I have been trying to figure this out and just knew that the place to ask was Cruise Critic. There are so many knowledgeable people out there that can speak from experience and help each other. I will try to call them and see what can be done. Please stay safe out there until we can travel again..........Patti

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Oh my Gosh.  Are you telling us that the airline industry is just as despicable as the cruise industry when is come to cancelled flights .  Say it isn't so.   I thought that NCL was the only one.   Time for our government to get involved.✌️

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2 hours ago, jskinsd said:

Oh my Gosh.  Are you telling us that the airline industry is just as despicable as the cruise industry when is come to cancelled flights .  Say it isn't so.   I thought that NCL was the only one.   Time for our government to get involved.✌️

Well you got it right when you said cruise industry, as it isn't just NCL - go to some of the other cruiseline forums and you will find similar conversations, different lines.  Government involvement?  Which one - NCL is flagged in Bahamas but corporate office is in Florida, so I don't know if US government has any leverage - and they have offices in a number of other countries - it's not just US citizens that are affected.

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2 hours ago, jskinsd said:

Oh my Gosh.  Are you telling us that the airline industry is just as despicable as the cruise industry when is come to cancelled flights .  Say it isn't so.   I thought that NCL was the only one.   Time for our government to get involved.✌️

 

I believe the Transportation Department did crack down on the airlines that were offering credits instead of refunds when they canceled flights.    We shall see if the directive is having any effect.   

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17 hours ago, teach/2/cruise said:

I was booked with American Airlines and they changed my flights.  I called and said those flights won't work and I wanted a refund.  They told me because they changed the flights I could request a refund.  You have to do the cancellation first (I did mine by phone) and then the refund online.  It was less than a week and I got my refund to my CC.

did you have to fill out a form for the refund. or did you just call?  thx 

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We were booked on Delta to fly to NY this Thursday to visit my family for Easter for the first time in years.  In the last two weeks, I received three different emails changing our flights from the original non-stops to different flights with connections through ATL.  The emails also advised us not to call until 72 hours before our trip, as they were swamped with calls.  Since we decided several weeks ago that there was no way we were going to NY, I just waited.  Yesterday I went to their website, clicked on my trip and clicked “Cancel”.  It processed within a few seconds and showed my refund of all the Sky Miles I used to book originally, plus the money I paid for upgrades to economy comfort.  Easy peasy.

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29 minutes ago, GA Dave said:

We were booked on Delta to fly to NY this Thursday to visit my family for Easter for the first time in years.  In the last two weeks, I received three different emails changing our flights from the original non-stops to different flights with connections through ATL.  The emails also advised us not to call until 72 hours before our trip, as they were swamped with calls.  Since we decided several weeks ago that there was no way we were going to NY, I just waited.  Yesterday I went to their website, clicked on my trip and clicked “Cancel”.  It processed within a few seconds and showed my refund of all the Sky Miles I used to book originally, plus the money I paid for upgrades to economy comfort.  Easy peasy.

 

This is good news.  I have airfare to Seattle in June for my Alaska cruise (which will be cancelled soon) and hope to get a refund versus credit

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31 minutes ago, GA Dave said:

We were booked on Delta to fly to NY this Thursday to visit my family for Easter for the first time in years.  In the last two weeks, I received three different emails changing our flights from the original non-stops to different flights with connections through ATL.  The emails also advised us not to call until 72 hours before our trip, as they were swamped with calls.  Since we decided several weeks ago that there was no way we were going to NY, I just waited.  Yesterday I went to their website, clicked on my trip and clicked “Cancel”.  It processed within a few seconds and showed my refund of all the Sky Miles I used to book originally, plus the money I paid for upgrades to economy comfort.  Easy peasy.

👍

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