Resort reimbursement for canceled flight: This passenger waited months and isn’t alone

TPG reader Andrew Kavan confronted the identical painful expertise as numerous different vacationers this spring and summer season.

Whereas on a enterprise journey in Charleston, South Carolina, in late Might, he discovered the primary leg of his return journey residence to Omaha, Nebraska, aboard Delta Air Strains had been canceled.

Rebooked on one other flight, he came upon he’d now be departing the next morning, which all however ensured his journey was about to get dearer.

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Kavan booked a close-by resort, however that wasn’t the top of his bills. He additionally needed to pay a $30 cab fare to get there from the airport. In all, he estimates the flight hassle price him north of $200.

Whereas the precise journey bank card may be an effective way to offset a majority of these prices, many individuals cannot hold from feeling that, in a majority of these conditions, the airline ought to pay.

Nonetheless, feeling just like the airline owes you cash and truly getting these funds may be two very various things. This sense may be very true once you throw within the extraordinarily lengthy wait instances you would possibly encounter when making an attempt to speak to a customer support agent, to not point out the huge measurement of the key airways.

You would possibly name Kavan’s story successful, although: The airline ultimately paid him again. However it took months. And his expertise carries just a few classes it is best to bear in mind for future travels.


Perceive why your flight was canceled

I’m positive there are many vacationers who’ve requested some form of reimbursement from an airline, all whereas preventing a nagging feeling that they may by no means see a dime.

Kavan had no such doubt, although.

“I had an excellent inkling that I’d be reimbursed,” he informed TPG.

His confidence stemmed from the truth that he’d achieved his homework on the explanation for the preliminary cancellation.

After getting the notification from Delta that his flight can be canceled, he rapidly determined to name customer support. He did not name them to rebook — as he’d already achieved that by the app, which is usually your greatest wager. Moderately, he had a easy query for customer support: Why was his flight canceled?

“They informed me it was flight workers availability,” he mentioned.

This truth validated his curiosity. In any case, when points exterior of the airline’s management — reminiscent of climate or air visitors management issues — are accountable, you’re unlikely to obtain compensation for added bills you incur when a flight is delayed or canceled. It is a completely different story, although, in instances like Kavan’s, when the airline is answerable for the cancellation or delay. Amongst different points, airways are answerable for mechanical issues and staffing challenges, like on this case and lots of different instances in 2022.

The federal authorities has tried to make flyers extra conscious of which instances would possibly end in reimbursement and what sorts of bills qualify. To take action, the federal government created a brand new customer support dashboard that lays out compensation insurance policies among the many main airways. President Joe Biden touted the current steps in a Sept. 12 speech, arguing it has led to expanded protections for shoppers, though, a commerce group for the most important U.S. airways famous carriers largely had these measures in place already.

As an illustration, the federal government’s new customer support dashboard reveals that Delta passengers are entitled to rebook on one other airline at no further price within the case of controllable cancellations like Kavan’s. Moreover, affected passengers will obtain meal money or a voucher for three-plus hour waits, complimentary resort lodging for sudden in a single day stays and free floor transportation.

However how rapidly ought to that reimbursement come?


Reimbursement took months

Understanding he deserved reimbursement for the prices he accrued for the additional night time in Charleston, Kavan filed a buyer criticism by way of Delta’s web site shortly after his journey — proper in the beginning of June, he informed TPG.

Quickly after, he started to get some indication {that a} refund — if he received one in any respect — might take a short time.

“They mentioned they might get again to me,” he defined. However, “the unique e mail mentioned it could take probably over 30 days.”

June glided by with no refund, then July. He acquired an e mail from the airline on Aug. 15 indicating his case was nonetheless open.

Lastly, on Sept. 1, he received the information he’d been ready for: a message that Delta had accredited him for reimbursement for the bills he’d incurred throughout his Might travels.


He shared a screenshot of the message with TPG. It indicated he might go to a third-party website to say his funds inside 16 days, or else the airline would simply mail a verify to him.

Positive, this marked a victory of types, however on the similar time, Kavan identified, “I used to be type of stunned how lengthy it took.”

How quickly do you have to get your cash?

U.S. Division of Transportation tips are fairly clear relating to how rapidly it is best to obtain a refund for a flight — which you’re all the time entitled to when your flight is canceled or considerably delayed and also you in the end select to not journey. The laws state that airways are anticipated to subject “immediate” refunds for these tickets, which it defines as inside seven days for passengers who paid with a bank card or 20 days for individuals who paid by money or verify.

It is rather less clear relating to the timeline for getting reimbursed for prices related to lodges, meals or transportation, although.

Vacationers who weighed in on our TPG Lounge on Fb shared a spread of time frames they encountered when asking airways for reimbursements.

Paul Campbell requested American Airways for $447 in resort reimbursement after getting caught in Chicago and spending an evening on the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport Resort on his method residence to Texas.

“Took greater than 60 days, however received the resort reimbursement [plus] $250 vouchers for each my spouse and me,” Campbell mentioned.

Amanda Bradley mentioned her reimbursement from American for misplaced baggage likewise took round two months — “and a number of emails,” she added — after her flight was canceled.

In the meantime, Wendy Teare added she received reimbursement “rapidly and with out subject” from Alaska Airways after her flight from Seattle to Juneau was canceled earlier this yr as a result of staffing shortages.

“Additionally they emailed me a flight credit score for the delay,” Teare added.

When requested by TPG, the DOT didn’t give particular reimbursement timelines for these types of instances, however a division spokesperson mentioned airways may be held accountable for “failing to offer promised reimbursements inside an inexpensive interval.” It’s value noting, Kavan had not acquired a promise of reimbursement in the course of the time he waited; reasonably, he was ready on a choice on whether or not he’d obtain something.

“Vacationers who don’t obtain the service inside the timeframe that they count on might file a criticism,” the DOT added, pointing to the Workplace of Aviation Client Safety, which evaluates complaints “based mostly on the details of every case.”

“OACP can be involved if complaints allege that an airline took months after the airline has acquired the requested price info from a client to offer a reimbursement,” the DOT informed TPG. “We are going to pursue enforcement motion towards airways ought to we discover air vacationers’ rights had been violated.”

A division spokesperson additionally reiterated current feedback from Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg that extra laws could possibly be on the horizon.


As for Kavan’s three-month look forward to reimbursement from Delta, the airline informed TPG “we do sincerely apologize for his or her expertise, and can proceed to search for methods to reinforce the client expertise.” Delta’s brokers are empowered to make fast selections on refunds and reimbursement, in response to the provider, which stories it has additionally refunded greater than 11 million tickets totaling $6 billion since 2020, a fifth of which has are available in 2022 alone.

Backside line

It is all the time a good suggestion to know why your flight is canceled and delayed — it may well assist you determine whether or not to hunt reimbursement for sure prices you incur. Whereas federal tips clearly state that eligible vacationers ought to get ticket refunds inside every week, it is much less clear about timelines relating to reimbursements for bills like lodges, meals and floor transportation. Nonetheless, the federal authorities clearly does not suppose it needs to be a prolonged wait.

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