Travel Refunds: How To Get Travel Refunds Due to COVID-19

The global coronavirus outbreak has wreaked havoc on all sectors of our lives. In the hospitality industry, many travels have been canceled, and in the face of all this chaos, numerous hotels, airlines, and tour companies have issued a more lenient change and cancellation policy.

With many travel destinations on lockdown, the travel industry is in a downward spiral. Currently, the number of airline seats have dropped to just 23% of last year’s number.

When an airline cancels a flight or makes any significant changes to its itinerary, it is required by the law to make prompt refunds according to the Department of Transportation. However, despite the fact the Department of Transportation has recently reminded U.S. airlines that they are still fully obligated to issue refunds to passengers if the airline canceled a flight; it is not guaranteed that you will get one.

Especially if you made a reservation for several months ahead, as many airlines and tour organizers are waiting to make a decision on what to do about the cancelation and policy change options. While this can only make you even more anxious, leading to rash decisions to reschedule and cancel, it might be wise to just wait a bit and see if these airline policies end up being extended several months ahead.

Tips for getting your travel refund because of COVID-19

If you are one of those peoples whose travel plans have been hugely impacted or canceled because of the coronavirus, I am going to share with some tips to use to get your refund back.

Push your trip as back as much as possible

Instead of getting into a frenzy and canceling your trip, push it back even if you have no idea when. For most people, they just want to want to get a refund rather than canceling the entire trip altogether. So, if you still would like to fly or travel to that particular destination in the future, even if you don’t know the exact date, consider pushing the trip back instead of canceling.

If you check most of the airline policies, that is exactly what they are offering passengers right now instead of refunds.

You can just postpone your flight and treat the ticket money as funds set aside for future use. Considering what most airlines are doing right now, this might be the best option for you since getting a reimbursement will either be impossible or hectic.

However, airlines are refunding if they are they cancel the flight because of the coronavirus rather than you.

Ask for a discount

One of the most likely scenarios you are going to face during this time is that the airline, hotel, or tour organizer just isn’t giving you a refund. In this case, the most attractive option is to ask them for a discount. Most hotels and tour providers are offering travelers future credit to use at a later date if they would use their services again.

With this option, you can get a discount that is more than your previous cost, which is great!

Ask for your refund from the third-party company

Because airlines, hotels, and tour providers are having different cancellation and refund policies, you might be able to obtain your reimbursement from some, while others may not be able to. In this case, rather than dealing with the company directly, consider looking for a third party if you booked your travel via them. I am talking about the likes of Travelocity, Expedia, Kayak, and Orbitz.

It also happened that these third-party booking companies are offering refunds in selected countries including China, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Italy, and more.

Give it time

Since there is no sign of the world getting the better of COVID-19, most travel companies and airlines are relaxing their restrictions on refunds. So if your trip is a few months ahead, it might be a great option to wait until the date comes closer before trying to get your refund. Moreover, it might happen that the airline or hotel cancels for a brief period due to the coronavirus, and thus getting a refund without asking.

So wait and let the hotel or airline pull the trigger first. This will put you in a much better position for reimbursement.

Don’t give up

Sometimes you might experience problems with a customer service agent because of the person at the front desk on that day. Thus, the trick is to try again another time if you feel you are getting the help you need.

Don’t start yelling and cursing at the agent at the end of the call, this won’t help anyone. They are also under a lot of stress dealing with hundreds of complaints from passengers every day.

Try other alternatives if you find the airline is not responding in a helpful way when calling directly, such as online chatting or sending an email.

Pull the loyalty status card

As one of the last resorts, you can use your loyalty status to push for your refund. This of course works only if you booked your trip with the brand you use frequently. So if you were given a loyalty status, you can point it out when trying to get back your money.

Use your credit card insurance

Check if you have cancellation coverage in your travel credit card insurance. This also works only if you used that card to book your travel. Just check and see if there is a way the card can help you get reimbursement from the airline or hotel.

You can also dispute the charge with the credit company for the services that you haven’t enjoyed yet. Your credit card provider will ask you a series of questions and give you a provisional credit while they look into the charge.

Last resort

If you have tried everything there is to do but you have not received a refund, you can try the last option – take the airline or hotel to court. You can take class-action lawsuits against the airline or tour provider.

Currently, there are thousands of class action lawsuits filed in federal against airlines in the United States. And the number of cases is expected to increase.

Alternatively, you can make a complaint with a government agency.

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