The COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives virtually overnight. In addition to shifting our work and school schedules, many people lost the chance to take long-planned summer vacations. And it hasn’t been easy to receive refunds for canceled air travel, hotel bookings, tour packages and other travel essentials. In attempts to protect their bottom lines, many airlines, hotels and tour companies are offering vouchers for future use. But with so many struggling to make ends meet, and no way to know when normal travel can fully resume again safely, a majority of travelers would prefer refunds. Check out how to increase your chances of receiving a refund for canceled travel due to coronavirus.
It’s important to know your rights under the law when it comes to receiving refunds for canceled travel. For example, if an airline cancels a flight, the Department of Transportation requires they provide refunds, rather than vouchers. Additionally, there is proposed legislation calling for airlines to provide refunds if travelers choose to proactively cancel their flights as a result of COVID-19.
Be sure you have current information when contacting airlines, hotels and other providers, so you can plead your case with conviction.
Call … And Keep Calling
You can try to get refunds for your travel costs by using email, but calling and speaking to someone will generally give you a better outcome. It may take several calls, though. With many call centers working remotely, it’s more challenging to move up the ranks and speak to someone in a position of authority. You may have to call multiple times to get a responsive agent who can connect you with a supervisor. But the effort is worth it if you can get your money back.
Get the Government Involved
It’s unfortunate, but true. Some companies are reluctant to provide refunds unless they’re forced to do so. If you work with a company in good faith and still can’t get any results, consider lodging a complaint with the U.S Department of Transportation (for air travel), Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or your state’s Attorney General.
File a Dispute with the Credit Card Company
If you paid for airline tickets, hotel reservations, tours or anything else with a credit card, file a dispute with the credit card company. Since you haven’t received the services you paid for, they will go to bat to recover the funds. Plus, they should credit your account right away as they work toward a resolution.