Oh Great: United Airlines Redefines “Cancelled”

Filed Under: United

There has been a lot of frustration among people regarding the ways that airlines have handled refunds. Even in countries where the government is requiring airlines to provide cash refunds for flight cancellations, we’ve seen airlines take a few different approaches:

  • Some airlines just outright defy regulations
  • Some airlines promise refunds, but say it will take a long time for them to be processed
  • And then you have one airline that’s redefining what it means for a flight to be cancelled… and yep, that airline is United

United Airlines redefines cancelled flights

The US Department of Transportation has made it clear that airlines need to provide cash refunds in the event that they cancel flights. The requirements in their enforcement notice seem pretty straightforward (bolding mine):

“U.S. and foreign airlines remain obligated to provide a prompt refund to passengers for flights to, within, or from the United States when the carrier cancels the passenger’s scheduled flight or makes a significant schedule change and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier.”

Well, United isn’t happy with this policy, so what are they doing? They’re simply choosing to redefine what it means for a flight to be cancelled.

View from the Wing notes the way that United is communicating with those requesting refunds when flights are cancelled.

United argues that their schedule change refund policy is in compliance with DOT requirements. United has just redefined what words mean, and they claim that their definitions are compliant with applicable law.

In the United Airlines dictionary, here’s how things are defined (this is not sarcastic, this is a direct quote based on United’s communications):

Schedule change: A flight is removed from our schedule, but the customer can be accommodated within 6 hours.

Significant Schedule Change: A flight is removed, and a customer cannot be accommodated with an impact of 6+ hours.

Cancellation: A flight is removed, and we cannot accommodate the customer.

If we remove a flight from our schedule and can accommodate the customer with another flight within 6 hours, that is not considered a cancellation.

A cancellation is not based on flight number or tail number, but on the ability to provide transportation to our customer without significant delay.

That’s right. United defines a flight being cancelled as a situation where “a flight is cancelled removed,” and where they can’t accommodate you on another flight within six hours.

The real story here is that United Airlines doesn’t “cancel” flights anymore, but rather they only “remove” them.

I’m not sure when the airline made that decision, because looking at United’s financial results in July 2019, the airline claimed:

For the second quarter United had the second-best completion factor and the second fewest cancellations among the major U.S. airlines.

Wait, I don’t understand. Are they talking about having the second fewest removed flights among major US airlines? What’s a cancelled flight?

This is so outrageous that it defies logic. Then again, this is the same airline that dragged David Dao off a plane while he was bloody, and claimed he was merely being “reaccommodated.”

United doesn’t cancel flights, they only remove them

United has been awful, but it doesn’t matter

I get all airlines are suffering right now, but I think there’s still value in recognizing those airlines that have done their best, and those that haven’t. Among the “big three” US carriers, United has had by far the worst policies for taking care of customers.

This is the airline that in early March adjusted their schedule change policy so that you couldn’t get a refund if you could be rebooked within 25 hours. The airline has changed their policy half a dozen times since then, always seeing what they could get away with.

But the truth is that it doesn’t really matter. As consumers we love to say “I’ll never fly XYZ airline again,” but rarely do people follow through on those threats.

United has adjusted their schedule change policy a countless number of times

Bottom line

In order to avoid giving refunds to passengers in line with DOT policies, United Airlines has simply changed the definition of what it means for a flight to be cancelled.

Are you booked on a particular flight, with a particular aircraft, at a particular time, and it doesn’t operate? The flight isn’t cancelled, it’s just being “removed.” A flight is only cancelled if the airline can’t rebook you on another flight within six hours.

  1. A flight withdrawn from service is cancelled.

    A schedule change is the same flight number but operating at an alternate time

    If a passenger is booked on UA123 EWR -LAX at 9:00 and it is not operating and rebooked on UA456 at 13:00 for united to consider it’s not cancelled is beyond idiotic

  2. Actually, I think these definitions are fine. If the airline can get you to your destination within X hours of your scheduled arrival, it makes no difference whether your original flight is cancelled, removed or rescheduled.

    What I do have issue with is the 6 hours. This is too long, it shouldn’t be anymore than 4 hours, IMO.

  3. Wow. A reflection of what some Airlines are willing to do to continue robbing people of their hard earned money. I guess this confirms that some of them deserve the current crisis.

  4. The “Significant Schedule Change” policy implies that is still not a cancellation if they can accommodate you more than 6 hours late. That directly contradicts the bullet below…

  5. Unfortunately, American Airlines is doing the same, as we noted yesterday in one of our posts.

  6. My husband had a flight canceled with United 24 hours before departure. Total airport travel time was about 4.5 hours. They had no way to accommodate him on United where the total travel time was less than 27 hours and that would have involved driving 5.5 hours each way to a different airport. That is a canceled flight!! The good news is that after much insisting they got him a ticket on a different airline. New airport was 2.5 hours away, but the total airport travel time was much the same as before.

  7. Lucky, I was reading about your whole United fiasco back in the day. Why would you ___________, I hope you have changed.

    -A concerned reader

  8. Can they change contract of carriage on already-booked tickets?? How do consumer protection laws allow this?

  9. Not to be *that* guy, but the last time I flew United was in 2017 when they had their computer glitch that grounded the entire domestic fleet on a Sunday evening. I’d only ever had poor experiences with United, so I said I’d never fly them again and have been able to stick to that and plan to continue doin gso.

  10. How is “accommodated within 6 hours” defined? Does that mean they have to get you to your destination within 6 hours of your original itinerary or does it mean they have to get you on a plane within 6 hours? Those can mean very different things based on connections and layovers.

  11. “United has been awful, but it doesn’t matter”
    …But the truth is that it doesn’t really matter. As consumers we love to say “I’ll never fly XYZ airline again,” but rarely do people follow through on those threats.

    This is so very true which is why United will not stop here. More to come from them..just wait and see…

  12. So will the flight boards at airports now all say for those flights not taking off “Removed” instead of “Canceled”? :O

  13. I seriously believe that people’s memories are not that short and will remember AA and DL being passenger focused and forward thinking and UA being just CRAP. I can see them going under and DL/AA/AK and J7 splitting up the spoils.

  14. What’s happened to me is that they changed my nonstop flight from Ewr to Ric to a connecting flight through Washington DC both ways! I did not accept this change, but they changed my itinerary as if I had accepted it. UA refuses to refund this ticket!

  15. This sounds like, if they can rebook you on another flight that eventually gets you to your destination – and that flight leaves within 6 hours, then you’re cool. Hypothetical example of what it doesn’t say (but often means) is that your 8:15 ORD-OKC nonstop was “removed” and now you’re rebooked on a new itinerary that puts you on a 13:15 flight ORD-IAH and which connects to a 19:45 IAH-OKC flight which gets you in at 21:00.

    According to this new interpretation of what “cancellation” means, this is cool. If you were the poor passenger who just spent over 12 hours to make a 2:15 flight, you may not agree that it’s cool.

  16. United, we will remove you as our designated partner airline through the board. Our employees and our business deserve better airlines but your recent moves have officially angered a 15000+ employee company based in SF. United will tank in 8 years.

  17. I’m just waiting for the class action lawsuit. Have two intl biz class bookings with United and Lufthansa and the refund/credit experience has been horrible.

    Oddly, UA will bankrupt themselves by these policies before COVID19 does.

  18. I have actually stopped flying United after two negative customer service experiences, and have paid more to do so. Business travelers, hub captives and casual flyers rarely have that ability. I’m happy I’m at a SLC hub that is served well enough by Delta.

  19. Are there any data on small claims court findings in favor of the plaintiffs who’ve gone against UA for refunds? Credit card companies and banks are beginning to block any opportunity at a chargeback since they’d be easily overwhelmed (and they’re truly on the side of the airlines – especially with co-branded cards), so I’d love to know how successful suits have been. Maybe that’s the new nuclear option.

  20. So if they rebook you for a flight like 2 days later, they can still claim that’s not a cancelled flight but just a flight that is significantly delayed?? Is that how they will showcase on the website and flight status platforms?? Lol

  21. @AlanD – I’m with you. I don’t understand the difference they are trying to make between their new definition of “Significant Schedule Change” and “Cancellation”. On the one hand, they have different definitions, but then in the sentences below the definitions, they seem to imply these are the same thing.

    Next up, they’ll make up new definitions of “accomodate”.

    And once that is still not favorable enough to United, they’ll resort to redefining what the definition of “is” is.

  22. Fortunately I’ve cancelled United a looong time ago. Encourage others with alternatives to do the same, spare yourself the trouble

  23. Unfortunately, there are routes served only by United, like Island Hopper.

  24. The definitions make total sense. In this pandemic, airlines (all of them, not just United) have “removed” flights due to lack of demand. These flights have been removed in advanced because of the crisis. Flights are essentially being condensed temporarily, but revenue passengers are making it to their destinations. Why have 2 flights going to the same destination carrying only 5 passengers each when the company can save money and operate 1 flight carrying all 10 passengers?

    If you look at an individuals itinerary- say they book a flight that has been removed from service at one time slot, but the next operating flight is “a go” for 4 hours from their original time slot. The individuals itinerary has not been cancelled, it has been moved. They are still on a flight to their destination, even though it is later. When a flight is cancelled, ETC is the refund. If someone can direct me to where DOT states that the refund MUST be cash, I’d appreciate it since all I see is “refund must be given.” Electronic Travel Credit is a form of refund. You just don’t like that it isn’t money back in your pocket.

    Wether you like it or not, the pandemic is changing the way airlines (all airlines. Not just United and yes including Delta) are defining these cancellations. As far as thinking 6 hours is too much time- there are simply not as many flights going to any one destination at this time. The only other flight option for you to be rebooked on may be hours out. That is the way things are right now and it is shameful for any person to demand otherwise. Flying is scarce and the way we fly after this will be changed.

  25. I feel really bad for United’s call center folks or the ones who work at the airport as they explain to disgruntled customers their management’s new definition of cancellation.

  26. “United has been awful, but it doesn’t matter”
    …But the truth is that it doesn’t really matter. As consumers we love to say “I’ll never fly XYZ airline again,” but rarely do people follow through on those threats.

    I left United several years ago and have NOT been back. I had enough.

  27. “Significant schedule change” – you’ll be on the redeye in coach maybe next year sometime and if you don’t like it , tough luck.

    Don’t forget to get to the airport 6 hours early for security and health screening. Bring your own hazmat suit and hand sanitizer or forget about traveling. No catering on your 6 hour flight, so buy your overpriced snacks after security.

    Airlines, airports and any business which treats its customers like fools deserve to fail, and the sooner that happens, the better.

  28. Another thought… I don’t know how they think they can justify differential pricing on different options to the same O&D if this is their stance. Why would someone pay a premium for flight times they want if United can immediately just move them to something else with no recourse? I really hope this bites them in the ass hard, others do not follow and they are punished for it.

  29. I booked a united flight to Europe in June, from Houston to London and then from Amsterdam back to Houston, both direct flights. United changed both flights with connection in Chicago on both flights now. My departure time to London is now 4 hours earlier and my arrival time back to Houston is now 5 hours later. I told them these new flights won’t work for me and that’s not what I paid for when I originally booked the flights but they refused to give me a refund citing the less than 6 hours schedule change rule. Pathetic.

  30. It doesn’t matter how United defines cancellation; it matters how the DOT does. United doesn’t control federal regulations. They are subject to them.

  31. Although I agree that redefining a ‘cancelled’ flight is definitely not going to help the attract new or retain old customers, Spirit Airlines, IMO, is by far the WORST airline when it comes to refunds or credits. Unlike what the author stated, once they screwed me out of 100% of the cost of a flight, I never flew them again, and never will unless it’s free or absolutely no other options. Plus, they charged $2 for a 4 oz bottled water. I consider them Evil Spirit.

  32. I haven’t paid for a flight on United since I started boycotting them in 2009 despite the fact that I primarily fly from a United hub in SFO and it holds more than half the gate space/flights.

    So it is possible to avoid an airline based on principle. Prior to then, I had flown 730,00 lifetime miles. Since I started avoiding them, I have flown an average of 150,000 miles per year.

  33. I used to fly them. A lot.

    “But the truth is that it doesn’t really matter. As consumers we love to say “I’ll never fly XYZ airline again,” but rarely do people follow through on those threats.”

    I said it years ago, and truthfully I have never set foot on another united flight since.
    Why are people still booking with this awful company?

  34. It’s extremely unlikely that the DOT will accept United’s bizarre interpretation.

  35. Ouch…. thank god I’m not hub captive. Time to make sure I book other airlines domestically going forward.

  36. I can’t help but wonder if pax experiences would be better if we still had Northwest, Continental and US Airways around. DoJ should have never permitted those mergers.

  37. Sharing a good experience: Alaska changed my non-stop domestic ticket to one with 1 stop. I tried to cancel online, but was asked to call. When I called, I was offered a call back, which happened in 5 minutes. No questions asked, I was offered a full refund. Alaska seems to be the exception, at least based on my experience.

  38. Not to be argumentative but I have a serious question I’d like someone to answer. If you read the DOT language narrowly any change in flight could be a “cancellation”. How many times have you booked a reservation far in advance and got notice the flight number or times changed (usually not materially) but didn’t really care. By this definition that could be a cancellation.

    With airlines legitimately consolidating flights and combining passengers to get to a destination many will get notice their flight has been changed. For example if you are on flight 123 from ORD to JFK leaving at 9:30 AM CT and arriving at 1 PM ET (times are rough estimates) and that flight is cancelled but combined with flight 222 that now leaves at 11 AM with arrival at 2:30 PM would you consider that a “cancellation”? A year ago people wouldn’t even think about it but now everyone is looking for a reason not to fly and to get a refund.

    The DOT probably needs to clarify but I can’t imagine any passenger is due a refund if they get from point A to point B as originally purchased in a reasonable timeframe. For example 1-2 hour difference shouldn’t constitute a “cancellation”, just a rebooking. Remember you didn’t buy a seat on a specific flight, you bought a ticket to get from point A to point B and if that is done within a couple of hours of what was scheduled I have a really hard time calling that a cancellation.

    United doesn’t deserve much sympathy but what I outlined above sounds reasonable and I’m willing to bet, especially under the circumstances, the DOT will agree and not require a refund to be issued.

  39. This is really reprehensible behavior. UA – Creating bad karma every chance they get!
    Dispute the charges with the CC company. I’m 12 of 12 with Chase and Citi. 10 airline charges and 2 non-refundable resorts.

  40. I must say that with status they seem to be accommodating. I have had two flights I did not want to go on and they have refunded both without much issue. In my experience they fold when you firmly demand a refund, but do not willingly give it away. I don’t think that’s so terrible given the market conditions.

  41. I have been trying to get my refund from United since first week of March when they cancelled my flight. At first they outright denied it. Then finally, after several complaints, they approved it. Now, they are saying it takes 5 weeks to process. After I was told 7 days and then 10 business days. Complete crap!

  42. At UA, EVERYONE so entitled can have a refund for their “removed” flight just like EVERYONE can have a Covid19 test, which is actually now the China virus, (I guess Chinavid19). The BS is flying in every direction.

    But don’t worry: Now that Genius (#2), “Jared”, has moved his expertise from bringing Middle East Peace on to the Covid mishap, we will all be “Rockin by July”, How sad.

  43. Well, this opens an entirely different can of worms. Define “accommodating within 6 hours.” Does that mean if my non-stop flight was scheduled to leave ORD at noon they have until 6 pm to accommodate me on any number of connecting flights to my final destination? And if I’m assigned to the 4 pm flight out of ORD and that flight gets “removed” does the clock start all over again thereby giving them another 6 hours to accommodate me? And let’s say I was “accommodated” on connecting flights vs. a nonstop and the first flight leaves late and I miss the connection and there are no other options for the rest of the day? Am I SOL?

    I will admit that when things used to break down there several times I would look at the gate agent and say “Can you just move me to tomorrow?” And they did without issue. Not anymore.

  44. Sounds like the same strategy when our flight from CDG was cancelled twice, but according to United it was delayed. For 48 hours.

  45. I’m stuck here in Brazil since my AA April 14 flight was canceled. Then my May 8 flight was cancelled and I rebooked to May 14. Now AA is not flying to Brazil until June 4. But I have reason to believe that AA will cancel all June flights. I have a medical emergency and I plan to change to Delta.
    Will AA transfer my ticket to Delta? If not how can I get my money back?

  46. United canceled my flight to Singapore next month, and left me with a schedule change that went from LAS-SFO-SIN to LAS-SFO. No alternate was provided (but I had the option to select “yes – accept change” on the reservation…)

    I sent them a PM in Twitter, asked for a refund, as they hadn’t even provided an alternate flight, and was told this:

    “Upon checking, we are currently suspending our flights to Singapore due to government mandates or restrictions in place prohibiting travel. While we’re unable to provide a refund at this time, we can keep the ticket value as a flight credit valid for 24 months from issuing date.” (This conversation happened April 20.)

    I pointed out the DOT regulations, and they said they can’t submit a refund request “over this platform” (the Twitter team has refunded me in the past though), so I had to accept the schedule change, cancel, accept a credit, and apply for a refund, “which may take up to 18 business days.” (My refund request is still pending.)

    (I’ve kept the Twitter conversation screenshots so I can refer back to them in case they deny the refund.)

    This seems like they’re not even following their own rules.

  47. Per Alaska Airlines’ app, I’ve had a “schedule change” with my departure changed from 1:55 pm to 4:40 pm. There’s a new flight number. This seems like a cancellation to me, and I should be entitled to a refund. Right?

  48. Garbage airline. Garbage employees. And I know they are dealing with horrible stress and circumstances, but it’s still true.

    This is one of those companies that really needs to be liquidated.

  49. United tried this bullshit on me. I argued with them for about 49 minutes. I just kept citing the new DOT provisions. They kept saying that while a flight was canceled it was rebooked within 6-hours. I told them that did not matter whatsoever. That’s not the policy. They tried to say that that is “United’s policy” and I said it does not matter in the slightest what their policy is when it’s in a direct violation of federal provisions.

    Further, I explained even if I wanted to I could do my itinerary, as my travel destination required a 14-day minimum quarantine. My trip was 6 days. They told me, no problem. The day before I can’t travel back just call them and they’ll rebook. I said “who would fly somewhere to be quarantined for 14 days then fly back, that’s asinine.”

    After threats of legal action and petitions to the DOT they finally gave me a refund. I’ll avoid United at all costs.

  50. I got lucky yesterday, after waiting for weeks United eventually changed my flight from a nonstop to one with a connection. My arrival time was now almost 9 hours later than originally.
    I called, and after less than 10 minutes on hold I was talking to a representative. I informed them that I would like to cancel and receive a refund. After a few minutes hold they came back with what was my new itinerary. I said yes I knew that and since they changed I would like a refund. They informed me they would have to talk to a supervisor, I said ok but when you do inform them that I am now delayed more than 6 hours, and that even with Their new rules I was still entitled. Two minutes later they said I was being refunded and to please give them up to 21 business days instead of the usual 7-10 days due to volume. We’ll see.

  51. Surprise surprise, this is why they shouldn’t have been bailed out without unprecedented concessions that are consumer friendly. United holds power over the government, lobbyists win again!

  52. Like many of the other posters, I decided not to fly United five years ago, and have not set foot on a United plane since then. This company needs to shut down for the good of mankind. In the meantime, with all due respect, its customers only have themselves to blame for ignoring the warning signs.

  53. Suppose UA cancels UA 1234 and there is another flight UA 5678 within 6 hours.

    can UA rename UA 5678 and UA 1234 on the new flight?

  54. At this point United is at the bottom when it comes to the big four… delta, American, Southwest, United. They raise award prices, destroy elite status qualification, severely restrict cancellations when compared to competition, drag doctors off planes lol damn this is like crystal clear. Not flying United today, tomorrow, or anytime for the foreseeable future seems to be in my best interest.

  55. Ladys and gentleman why you don’t take the train next time
    Stop complaining about airlines
    Why you don’t complain about you electricity provider or garbage company ? The are monopoly and charge what were the like because the don’t have competition
    You have a choice when you fly or take the train
    Stop crying like a baby everyone
    Get a life if you have

  56. I’m personally done with united and their awful business practices. As another commenter said, though, American is equally as good as bad. I’ll try delta and hope for the best. I wish more people would follow suit and tell united and American to get bent.

  57. I am a victim of this scam. United cancelled my nonstop flight and put me on the only other flight leaving that day. Problem is, the new flight was leaving one and a half hours BEFORE the original flight AND was a connection. They moved me and my wife to seats that were not together on the segment from PBI to Washington AND did not assign seats for the connector. When I looked as seats available, only scattered middle seats remained. I refused to fly and they have not refunded. I entered a dispute to the charge on my credit card.
    Class action lawsuit, anyone?

  58. I have an August non-stop RDU to DEN reservation. If UA “removes” this non-stop, a significant schedule change, but replaces it with RDU-ORD-DEN, which would not be acceptable to me, am I SOL in asking for a refund?

  59. You guys are the best only the airlines are the worst company in the world except the middle east airlines the are best like you
    I don’t know if notice we are in the middle of pandemics a lot a people don’t have a job or somebody’s Maybe have a family member whit virus please stop criticizing airlines say something nice once in your life
    Maybe the airlines the are not the greatest but provide job for thousands of people supporting ther family and local economy
    But the are business and the of the year the need make money for the owners ( wallstreet) because your mutual fund probably have stock on airlines business if the don’t make money you not be able to retire think about when you complain about airlines hotels and so on

  60. I was able to get s refund minus $25 fee for my trip to Scotland in April. Not as easy for my husband’s Aug trip. His NYC to Scotland then Scotland to Toronto to NYC ended up being (with NO NOTICE FROM THEM) no travel TO Scotland but travel Scotland to Toronto then Indonesia to Zimbabwe in FEB 2021. WTF? Go figure.

  61. About a week ago I received an email from United saying sorry you canceled your plans. This was a flight to Colombia on May 30. Truth be told, I never canceled. United canceled all their flights through the end of the month because they can’t get in the county at that time. Now I have to battle with them to get my credit card credited for the purchased amount rather than a travel certificate that I can use within 24 months. I haven’t flown United in years and thought I’d give them a try. Now, I’d rather continue to give my business elsewhere. I feel sorry for their front line employees. United upper management has once again done an excellent job creating mistrust with the public.

  62. Sfo romper, what kind of run on sentence is that?

    Anyway, I spent 7k on air travel in the last 9 months, so excuse me if I don’t buy this feel bad for the airlines nonsense. I get it’s a business, being a business doesn’t excuse outright theft. Which is what this is. And I’m pretty sure the cares act carried the stipulation they were supposed to refund for changed flights. Or so I have read. So they are actually violating the law that gave them free money to keep running..

  63. That’s why I always fly Delta Airlines! They gave me a full refund in less than 3 weeks after I applied for my refund because they cancelled my flight. I’m sorry for the way United is treating their customers probably from now on to rightfully be known as former customers.

  64. What if you were confirmed in F, but rebooked in the last row of coach? Were you merely “reaccommodated?”

  65. Delta was still accepting bookings today out of Vancouver to LA that I’m booked on 9th May . It hasn’t flown in over a month . It is operated by code share partner Westjet. How can they continue to accept bookings

  66. Carriage of contract does not have anything to do with cancelled flights and schedule changes, or people just not wanting to fly, flights are being cancelled by all global airlines because there is no capacity on them outside of Airlines control. So DOT bland language really does not co-inside with what all Airlines have if anyone would read whats referred a Contract of carriage. No flights in anyone’s schedule are never guaranteed, which no matter what is taking place in the world has always been the case, and in the contract of carriage every airline does reserve the right to modify their schedules, even with out notice. So hence if a customer is aware of this, they have the utmost responsibility from time to time just to insure since these should be reasonable adults, and they are the flights, to check on their schedule, even in this age where as a society believe we should be spoon feed every bit of info at any time because of the real time life we live and social media, and how info should travel so fast. I’am sorry I just do not agree with some of the comments and opinions

  67. Redefine what anyone must, but its not your business model, everyone has a opinion till they try to run a operation or even manage their own lives or children or faith in God, seek the lord, and he will God any of those that just want to stir up strife. I honestly feel for most, and I pray, and hope and encourage folks in the world to look at that selves and realize that all are sinners, and all do things some how wrong daily. This is terrible just get a point across

  68. I had an International flight, Newark to Milan for middle of May. I kept waiting for it to say cancelled or get an email. Nothing. But my flight was nowhere to be found. When I went to “Manage flights” it said I could get a credit.
    So I decided to bite the bullet and call them. Figured I’d be on hold for hours. Nope. Got a real person on the phone in less than 5 minutes. Gave her my confirmation number. She said, yes, that flight has been cancelled. Would you like a credit or a refund? I said refund. She input the info, said it might not be right away as there are so many people in the same boat. I was just thankful she was so pleasant and nice. I said no problem, thank you so much. This was on Tuesday. The money is back on my credit card today (Friday).
    I’m not special, I dont have miles, it was the basic flight.
    So, my recommendation is call, be pleasant and maybe you can get a refund as quick as I did.
    No I just have to wait for the refund for my Trenitalia tickets. Fingers crossed!

  69. Happy that I *am* one of the few who declared that I would never fly UA again, and I haven’t in over 20 years. DEN based, as well. I’ll take a decent experience overall over direct non-stop flights.

  70. I definitely owe United an apology because I got angry with someone in customer service. She had every right to treat me like a criminal. Thank God I now see the light and I feel better knowing that my flights were not cancelled but, rather, were removed. I hope they’re wisely investing the interest free, thousands of dollar loan I issued them last year when I purchased my tickets for my removed flights.

  71. Well, as a ramp worker, I’m one of 15,000 who just found out today that we’re all being bumped down to part-time effective the 24th of this month, AFTER they accepted gov’t bailout money. The premise was that there was to be no involuntary job cuts through September 30th. Well, I guess this is how they can get around it and pocket the cash for themselves – because we’re still on payroll, they just now have to pay us less…

  72. This is for all you pathetic people who are so eager to complain about airlines . Some of you calling airlines garbage and some saying they won’t fly on United and some saying they have up United airlines for 20years. Perhaps you people don’t understand that we are in a pandemic but don’t know what happens when pandemic hits. It’s not just the airlines that suffers , the entire country suffers. Try to understand that so many people lost their jobs , they are also struggling and here you stupid people are complaining about refunds , I’m sure when everything gets normal the airlines will refund , you people just think of yourself and not others. I guarantee you people that when things gets normal , you all people will be the first one to buy a business class tickets on United Airlines.

  73. I had a flight originally booked for 11:30AM that was reassigned to 8:00AM. Then moved again to 6AM. I called and asked about the 5+ hour change that was made. I was told,”We only see a 2 hour change in our system”…because it was the last change in their system…my concern with these kinds of policies is the six hours. Of course, an airline will be able to accommodate within a 6 hour time-frame. And if you say no, that’s on you. Terribly clever.

  74. And I may be one of the few UAL employees that actually LOVES what I do for a living and takes pride in my work too. Although it’s getting harder and harder to back a company that doesn’t want to back its people. But at the end of the day, I know it’s not the passengers’ faults management is doing this, so never would I take it out on a passenger or their belongings. I just feel that the general flying public needs to know that they’ve been duped after the company received government taxpayer money to be bailed out.

  75. This is why even though I am a million mile, I stopped flying this disaster of an air carrier. Absolutely no regard to their customer and cramming seats into aircraft so passengers overlap into their neighboring seat. I hope United goes the way of Pan Am…bankrupt.

  76. Singh lovely what you just said
    This people are selfish I hope don’t get the virus or get layoffs

  77. My wife and I and our two adult children we’re supposed to leave tonight via Washington and Frankfurt for Barcelona. The flight was changed several times and then removed. And then the return on the 10th shows no available flights from Barcelona to Orlando, originally we had one Newark.
    It still says “pending review” on our refund request. It’s been in 4 weeks.

  78. I’m not usually one to defend United Airlines, because I agree they are too big and just an awful company, but am I missing something here? If your flight eventually takes off, or they find other equipment to fly within 6 hours isn’t that a delay? You don’t buy a ticket on a tail number, like a private jet. 6 hours is long, but not an insane time to be delayed in the inherently unpredictable world of travel.
    Delta cancels less than anyone, but they will delay a flight for 24 hours.

    In addition, because of our m&a friendly court system, we have very little competition and monopolies in some markets. So, yeah, United. It doesn’t matter.

    Finally, you went too far by dragging in the “Dr.” Dao reference. You are a much better writer than to use some zombie story to give your column some punch. Dao didn’t get bloody from being dragged off a plane, he ran down the jetbridge and tried to re-enter the aircraft. That will get anyone a beat down. You are a journalist and know all this. So why give that quack any more undeserved attention?

  79. The airlines are betting that most customers will give up and accept whatever they say. Just stand up for yourself and dispute the charge and you will almost certainly get your refund. I am speaking from recent personal experience. The DOT’s rules are clear on this.

  80. This is exactly why I never flew UA again ever since these idiots pulled a similar stupid trick on me 10 years ago. I’d never fly UA again ! There’s no where on earth were UA is the only carrier. So I have choices!! I tell my students and friends how bad UA is and to avoid them at all costs!

  81. @ Jeremy P
    They probably won’t have the flight board state “removed” instead of “cancelled”. I mean that would almost be like them trying to make flying some what civilized. That’s not their job.

  82. One thing you did not mention in your blog on United….take the buggers to small claims court.
    Often, with airlines, this is the only remedy. It requires you to invest some time.
    I took British Airlines to Small Claims three or four years ago when they had their IT meltdown and could not find and return passenger’s baggage. They did not want to pay any of my out-of-pocket expenses for clothes, bags, etc required to continue my vacation on another airline.
    Surprise, surprise… they actually had an employee (supposedly not a lawyer) show up at the court hearing. We negotiated a settlement … he was constantly on the phone to head office in New York during this process. I got half my losses back!

  83. As much as I hate a lot of what the airlines are doing, this is a situation where I think it actually makes sense. If the airline can fly the passenger to the destination within a reasonable timeframe of the original flight, it shouldn’t matter whether the original was canceled or that it’s a different flight number (or even a different airline, with some token compensation, of course). Now, what constitutes a reasonable timeframe is another discussion. IMO, six hours is too long. It should be two or three hours max.

    However, what UA is doing is technically wrong. The wording of the DOT regulation stipulates that the customer must receive a refund. IMO the regulations were written a little carelessly. Perhaps the regulators didn’t foresee a situation (like now) where many customers are insisting on a refund despite being offered an alternative flight within a reasonable timeframe. I argue that this is a “loophole” (in favor of the passenger), because the airline is honoring his/her original intention, which is to be transported to the destination within a reasonable timeframe. It is the customer who isn’t accepting, insisting on a refund due to the (technically correct) cancellation of the original flight.

  84. This problem with United has been going on way before Covid 19. They always seem to defy what the right thing to do is when it comes to customer service. They forget they are in a service business and customer service should be their first priority. But this article hits the nail on the head, we complain, but yet we keep booking flights with them. Nothing will change, other then their rules to benefit themselves. But the govt will keep bailing these companies out!

  85. Out of personal experience on flying an average of 10 times a year for the last 15 years. United has been the Airline I always have had the least trouble with. I have not used Delta or American for over 5 years do to horrible experiences multiple times. In this situation I don’t hold this on United they are trying to keep people like pilots employed. Do we want all the airlines to go bankrupt and they have to sell out to the federal government. Then the government provides air service. That will REALLY be way better service then United provides.

  86. The simplest solution for this entire situation is to redefine what an Airline is today vs. what it used to mean yesterday. Once you figure that out then you’ll be able to come to some closure on this matter.

  87. @FA
    How much did United pay you? Didnt realize this blog silences critics like myself but allows shills to comment!

  88. I’m sorry, you lost all creditably and objectivity when you made that comment about the passenger being dragged off. You, writing for a travel blog, knows that was not United. United express and United are not the same thing. Also, it was proven the passenger provoked the encounter to get a pay day. You have something personal against United and it’s glaring in the way you wrote your opinion piece. I’m not defending United under the principle topic here, but I’m not attacking it either.

  89. Call it coincidence, but I stopped flying United several years ago. Why? Because I wantEd to avoid running into my flight attendant ex-wife.

  90. So now passengers no longer miss a flight or are a “no show”. Providing they turn up within 6 hours of check-in closing they are just late and put on the next available flight at no charge.

  91. My flight from Santiago Chile to Houston Texas, has been canceled three times. First I was to return home on April 24th , canceled to May 21st, canceled to June 5th, canceled to unknown.. stuck in Chile until God knows when need and want to get back home, and United’s agent have an attitude one told me “ well how do you think we feel, also she said you scheduled three months “ really I don’t believe it matters how long I choose to stay . my reply was at least your home and not in a foreign country having to pay for room and board now also having to buy winter clothes as I came in summer season, but wait everything is closed. One agent did tell me I can go to Panama and pay extra $400 and wait and see if I get to Houston. Really that didn’t solve my citation. Just want to get back home!

  92. On the other hand, they’re letting coach passengers seated in back board first, so first-class passengers spend less time in their seats and are not exposed to the riff-raff.

  93. Check out the super-passenger-friendly EU Law on matters of delays and cancelations. Up to 6 hours is not considered to be a cancelation and passengers are entitled to food coupons and competition but no full refund. People come on now, why should the tail number or the flight number be the deciding factor? Those things change under normal operational conditions all the time!
    A flight isn’t a taxi ride. The only thing that authorities should impose on airlines for delays up to 6 hours is a similar means of accommodation/compensation as the EU Law dictates. You’re asking for too much.

  94. This is one of those times when the government agency has to write down exactly what a word means. And then stick by those definitions.

    On the face of it these definitions look good. Until you look at flights that require a layover. When you buy flights like that most of the time they have a 1-3 hour layover.

    So lets say im flying from san Fransisco, CA to Eugene, OR (a rute I took many times on Alaska airlines). There is no direct rute i have to transfer in Portland or Seattle. One time it was Sacramento, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Eugene (we had engine trouble on the first leg). My average lay over was 2h. But if the flight was removed at each leg a 4 hour trip could be 9 hours, or even 2days (15+ hours as the second leg last fight was always around 9-10 pm).

    But lets look at my standard rute (san Fransisco to Eugene) in a horror situation arrive at and ready at the gate at in San Francisco for a Friday 10am. flight to Seattle. It gets removed So they booked me standby for the noon flight totally complying with their new definitions they have found me a flight within 2 hours. The noon fight is overbooked and so is the 2:00 p.m. finally I have the last seat on the 4:00 p.m. flight 6 hours after my initial take-off time. When we arrive in Seattle 2 hours later due to the fact that I was a standby the connecting flight at 8pm does not have a seat for me oh and its the last flight of the night to Eugene. So I spend a night in a hotel if I’m lucky or sitting in a chair in Seattle until the 10 am fight I’m booked on the next day this time with a guarantee that I will be on that flight. I arrive back at the gate at 9:00 to find out that flight has been removed as I was one of three passengers on the 15 seater. Then every 2 hours we’re booked on the next flight until 8:00 p.m. where I have to take another hotel room. Finally getting to my original destination 11am Sunday 2 days later 6 hours before my return trip on Sunday at 5pm.

    This is the problem with the accommodations. Each leg I was accommodated every 2 hours and then kicked to stand by again. To consider you being accommodated you need to be only booked on the flight. If that flight takes off without you because it’s overbooked. Then they accommodate you again on the next flight. They could continue to do it every 6 hours until you have a Tom Hanks the terminal situation. Of course if it wasn’t for ‘hidden city’ regulations I could have been booked from San Francisco to Portland and then on to Eugene. But that would have canceled my return trip as well due to most airlines policies. This is why I believe only the destination should matter in certain flights.

    And why I think The FAA should have a list definitions. That way accommodations, removed, canceled, delayed will all have set in stone industry-wide definitions that all airlines have to comply with

  95. United are having a laugh. Sue them and let a judge decide what “cancellation” means.

  96. The time for self regulation is over, we need a comprehensive customer bill or rights that addresses all issues pertaining to passenger and carrier. Of course, the GOP will never allow it, they would rather create rules to limit customer rights and look the other way while businesses crap all over the general public.

  97. One question: Does this mean the ticket agent can take 6 hours to find you a new flight (that can depart some time later) or that the new flight must depart within 6 hours?

  98. Kinda make you want to organize a group to fill a flight with all “hidden city” ticketed passengers…just to make a point. Imagine United flying the last leg with a completely empty plane.

  99. @Lucky, want to go in on starting an airline with me? Step one, create a website with stimulus money. Step 2, request bailout after using up our stimulus money.

  100. Southwest just did the exact same thing to us on a flight to Belize set for August. “Oh our schedule changed and we couldn’t accommodate you” but looking on their website all the flights until the weekend after we were supposed to go are gone (normally 3-4 a day). Seems like a cancellation to me

  101. I just want to know how airlines can charge for seat selection, and more for flights at popular times and then claim you are not buying a specific seat on a specific flight. If I buy any other product I am choosing the specific one I want. If I buy a 48 inch tv but they give me a 42 inch one instead, that is not accommodating me within 6 inches. Any change in product should be refundable.

  102. So, suppose United “removes” my 10AM nonstop return flight and “reaccomodates” me on a 3PM flight connecting through ORD (EEEEK!), and gets me home 8 hours later, and my 3PM “reaccomodation” causes me to have to choose between extending my rental car (possibly another full day), or hanging around in the airport an extra four or five hours? Not everyone is traveling on a corporate travel account.

  103. The seems a little outrageous as people plan their flights based on the time they need to be in a certain place. Particularly business travels who are trying to make business meetings in other cities 6 hours may not allow them to attend the meetings or events that they need to .
    United has become a horrible airlines. I am a million miler with them and have been very disappointed in the direction they’re heading.

  104. @SFO ramper must be UA employee of the year. And please use punctuation, your rambling makes me dizzy

  105. Didn’t think I’ll ever be on the side of United, but in this case I can see their point.
    For a passenger something like flight numbers is effectively just a bureaucratic detail, what really matters is the punctual transport from point A to point B with the paid for comfort level. If the flight number is 1, 18, 69, 88 or 1234 is absolutely irrelevant.
    If you take a Metro train or a bus do you even know the individual train number? No, you just know the direction/line number.

    I’d only criticize United for defining 6h delay as ‘punctual’.

  106. I’ll never understand how someone like Sing can be completely ok with theft. Then have the audacity to complain about us complaining. I guarantee he would be the first whining if x business took his money and didn’t deliver said goods.

    Before you assume I won’t use them again, know my flight is 2 hours long and a 5 hour connection makes it just as conducive to drive….. So either you want my business or you don’t. I actually make good on my boycott threats and this will only be about company number 5 that has make the list in over 2 decades.

  107. To anyone who has ever flown United or tried to get any accommodation this should not be a surprise. A looooooooong record of the worst customer service of any company, not just any airline. Totally tone deaf to the needs of their customers.

  108. I had a nonstop international flight rerouted as a one-stop through ORD. I called United to get a refund. They said that it’s not a cancellation because I had been “re-protected” within 6 hours. They offered to give me a travel certificate for use within 24 months. I’m a million miler, platinum flyer. Unbelievable.

    I told them to shove it.

  109. Lucky,

    This is helpful, but can you do a piece that compare other US airlines’ policy rather than just one airlines?

    It will be helpful to all your readers.

  110. The public is so misinformed. The April 3rd Enforcement Notice concerning refunds was a reminder to carriers to follow their contracts with their passengers (general rules tarriff). If you read the Notice, it’s actually carrier friendly and hurts the consumer because the way it’s written disuades carriers from making exceptions for passengers which fall outside the conditions set forth in the carrier’s general rules/contract. Carriers dug their heels in after the Notice was published and began throwing the book at consumers, denying goodwill refunds as exceptions to the rules.

    The way most carriers’ contracts are written, the passenger must hold an active reservation for space on the originally ticketed routing at the time of schedule change, delay, cancellation, or diversion in order to qualify for a refund of the unused portion of a non-refundable ticket. Many passengers cancel their reservations for space on flights before the carrier discontinues the flight and removes it from their schedule, or cancels it. In such a case, the passenger usually isnt contractually due a refund of a non-refundable ticket (depending on which carrier – the way the contracts/general rules are written varies between carriers).

    With respect to a flight cancellation, which is totally different from a schedule change discontinuing the flight, carriers cannot delay a flight for more than 24 hours and must cancel the flight if the delay will be greater than 24 hours. However, the DOT allows carriers to create an extra section of a different flight number to be operated in the place of the original flight number if the original flight number is pulled down in this way. If the carrier operates an extra section in place of the original flight number, the pull down of the original flight number is not a cancellation and does not need to be reported to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics under Title 14, Part 121.

    A schedule change discontinuing the flight occurs when the affected flight is removed from the carrier’s schedule en bloc. Again, the way most of the carriers’ contracts are written, if the passenger is reacommodated on an alternative itinerary which is scheduled to transport the passenger within a certain time period of the original itinerary, then the passenger may not be contractually due a refund. Read your contract of carriage (general rules tarriff).

    Your allegation that United is changing the definition of terms fails to make the connection that like all carriers, United defines its own terms under its contract/general rules tarriff. These are the rules passengers agree to when purchasing a ticket for carriage on an airline. What you and nearly everyone else wants is their cake and to eat it too.

  111. I had one flight to FCO during the period that the virus was rampaging through Italy’s Lombardy region, which was then on a lockdown, but flights from the US to southern Italy, including FCO, had not yet been cancelled. However, Trump had just put a moratorium on flights from the EU to the US, so figuring that I would not want to travel to FCO and get stuck in Europe, I called the 1K desk to request that my flight be cancelled and explained my concern. I was offered just two options: (a) reschedule to travel at later time, or (b) get a credit to use to book a future flight, with *no guarantee* that I would have a change fee waived. I chose (b), but since things got a lot worse worldwide and all flights both ways ended up being cancelled, I wonder whether the “no guarantee” on waiving a change fee still holds. I would suppose so, but one cannot be sure with UA!

  112. There have to be dozens of other more valid complaints against United vs. arguing with them that moving a flight less than six hours is the same as canceling it. I hate United but even I see a big difference between moving it by say 4 hours vs. canceling it. One is an inconvenience and the other is I’m not getting to my destination today.

  113. The most GRACELESS company in the history of the known universe! What kind of a company has been forced to pay nearly 1 BILLION in fines, penalties, violations and discriminatory practices every 10 years!

  114. After getting jerked around by United on a repeated basis for a few years, I had my “i’ll never fly with them again” moment in 2003. It’s been 17 years and I haven’t. I haven’t missed them one iota. Apparently United’s predisposition to re-writing the dictionary is a long tradition. The last straw for me was changing the definition of the word “guaranteed” printed on my guaranteed trans-Atlantic upgrade certificate, (Nowhere on the cert did it say “subject to availability. Nor was I offered any alternative. They just took the cert. I wasn’t rude, abusive, “under the influence” or anything like that.

  115. UA is THE WORST airline I’ve flown ! They stiffed me twice ! I would NEVER fly them again even if I have to pay double with other airlines. No one with half a brain and self respect should fly with them !!!!

  116. FA, You are clueless…… United is a taxpayer owned (at the moment) Government bailout recipient! Why do they also need to Sit on MY money? The CEO has a pay ratio 169 times greater than the average United employee. If they need to, “save money” as you put it look at the Board of Directors not your customers!

  117. Time to reregulate the airline industry again. It shouldn’t have been deregulated in the first place. Thank you Jimmy Carter!

  118. Ben, you know better than to say United dragged David Dao off that airplane. It was Republic airlines, a regional flying a few routes for United. Please acknowledge your misstatement.
    And would you be fussing if the United policy allowed for a 3 hour window instead of the 6 hour window? I think not.
    Like someone else said – United doesn’t get to define “cancelation”. The government does. This article is all barking up the wrong tree.

  119. United Airlines must be getting to be broke as a joke! This is horrible because back in the late 70’s to mid 80’s UA was one of the best airlines in the United States, no longer the case! I think things are going to get worse, especially if there is a 2nd wave of this virus! The airline sector may have to be nationalized at some point or another otherwise the government will be continuing bailouts over and over again.

  120. @sforamper. I think you have defined the term “bonkers”

    When a person books a flight the price they pay is directly linked to the schedule. If you fly at 6 AM you generally pay 50% or less of the prime time flight. If you choose direct over 2 stops, you pay through the nose. If it’s transcontinental any there’s a 787 on the schedule or hypothetical a 737 Max, you pay through the nose for the Dreamliner.

    So what’s this nonsense about you don’t pay for the tail number? Of course you do!

    Anything less than a full refund means the airline is ripping you off. A flight change (cancellation/rebook) that moves you from noon departure to 5:45 AM is not acceptable unless the pax accepts it otherwise due a full refund.

    And since only critical travel is allowed, all leisure travel should be fully refunded. Period.

  121. So AA has done this too but of course
    onemileatatime gives the bad press to UA. ‘Lucky’ apparently doesn’t get enough free first class upgrades on UA.

  122. Captain Furlough, Republic Airlines didn’t face a lawsuit and write a check to Dr Dao United Airlines did, are you the only one that didn’t know this?

  123. I have been raped by United. I will use my points then cancel my United branded chase cards and NEVER fly the UNFRIENDLY SKIES again. Deceptive advertisements and proprietary ecerts makes United, in MY opinion a corrupt money grubbing corporation.

  124. Let’s give airlines some leeway here. The passenger traffic dropped 10x, clearly they need a way to optimize their routes. This may be a good time to review the regulations as well before those companies go bankrupt. I think airlines make the right steps: change boarding procedures, require masks for crew and passengers, reflow their airplanes to save money.

  125. @lex, I’m willing to give them leeway, but when it doesn’t fit my schedule for them to be flexible, I’m owed a refund. A terrible analogy is ordering an Uber and paying for the Uber then him saying I’ll be there “in six to eight hours” and refusing to give you a refund. I purchased a 5pm flight, not a 6 am flight. Then they want to tell me because I now need to cancel that my ticket isn’t eligible for a refund and they will only give me “flight credit”. However, because I was flying twice a week now I have to manage 10 different “flight credits” when they could accept that I was a valuable customer and just refund the tickets to earn my future business. Instead, they have decided my few hundred bucks now is worth more than my future business. That’s fine, but it’s choice and my choice is to not use them again. I’m fine with them keeping my money, I just won’t ever use them again because I view that as theft.

  126. OMG. Can we be anymore pathetic. I wish airlines would just shut down. We can all drive or take a train. Oh wait, we would then bitch about the roads. The trains aren’t fast enough.

  127. @Cyberdad

    “After getting jerked around by United on a repeated basis for a few years, I had my “i’ll never fly with them again” moment in 2003. It’s been 17 years and I haven’t. I haven’t missed them one iota.”

    I admire your hard stance. But I have to warn you, by next year you might have to fly Delta to avoid United, since well how to say this, JFK/LGA will be a DL fortress, ORD will be a UA fortress and you can expect PHX to soon be like STL, and CLT to soon be like PIT. Also unlikely but you might see WN at DFW, but who knows.

  128. That’s why I don’t fly United. Compared to many other airlines they get worse and worse (relatively speaking)

  129. Hey Ben and others piling on this one airline. Not sure y’all realize how much of a game changer this is for everyone, but your petty quips about not getting a refund are comical. Literally, the entire world is in the same predicament. Do you not comprehend that? Obviously not. Ben, I never have followed you but I’m guessing you are a “gig” worker also complaining about no unemployment benefits which sucks for you once the airlines implode (like YOU and almost all other posts here) will be out of a job or won’t have the luxury of flying around the world and simultaneously batching about policy and how you are inconvenienced. Any airline employee that bothered to read this post is wondering how they will survive and you just worry about yourselves. Shame on you for being so narrow focused! Grow the F*** up!

  130. I used to like United, but the way they’ve handled this COVID situation with stuff like this has really pushed my buttons and I don’t think I can support a company that does this to its customers. In all honesty this just reminds me why I am loyal to Delta.

  131. I currently have two itineraries in July/August- one for me and my 7 year old, and another for my partner. We originally were supposed to fly LAX to Edinburg, connecting in Chicago. My partner would fly two weeks later from LAX to LHR, connecting in Denver. We were all on the same flights back, but ticketed separately. LHR to LAX, stop in Houston.

    I got the schedule change email and my itinerary had one confirmed outbound leg- LAX to EWR. We’re waitlisted for 4 other legs to Edinburgh. On the way back we’re now doing LHR to Washing DC, DC to Houston, Houston to LAX- but only the last leg is confirmed as the rest are waitlisted. I’m eligible for a refund in the form of a travel credit but only for the legs we have tickets for. My partner’s flights moved 4 hours earlier and now connect in Chicago with a long layover. The return legs are also changed but he at least has confirmed seats. He is ineligible for a cash refund under this new policy.

  132. How is united getting worse?
    They have been helping stranded passengers get back into the country.. they offer free flights for medical volunteers, etc.. what is delta or American doing to help?

    they changed many policies and are more customer service oriented (CORE4).

    ALSO, pulling the guy off the plane was done by the AIRPORT SECURITY not by United. You guys are just bitter people who probably paid $25 for a basic economy flight and threw a fit about having to check your carryon. Maybe you’re the problem.
    Including the moron who wrote this article. How about you write about positive things the airlines are doing instead of bashing them and bringing up things that happened years ago that the airline had no control over?

  133. @tim,

    Read your own words, child. What part of not getting what you paid for is a complicated subject for you. Is your real name Scott Kirby, by any chance? I guarantee Mr adultness would be raising heck if his cell service was cut off and he was still expected to pay the bill. Pandemic or not. And he to the other whining about people dying, it’s not as bad as the chicken Littles like you have made this out to be and the evidence is growing in that regard.

  134. Also, @aggy. There is nothing wrong with basic economy as long as one knows what they are getting. I use it all the time, over 48 times in the last 52 weeks and never have a problem. That doesn’t mean that a massive schedule change doesn’t now entitle me to a refund of the ticket I can’t use due to their change.

  135. Why anyone would fly United over the last decade is so beyond me. Someone needs to file a class action law suit and simply put them out of business for good

  136. I think it’s time that the government stepped in and said: “every passenger gets an empty seat next to them, (unless they’re a family traveling together).” Airlines will just have to price their product appropriately or cut their costs in order to make money on flights in the new reality until COVID-19 is declared contained by a significant portion of the worlds health authorities. Use larger planes on routes. All the 777/787/A350/A330’s sitting idle can be used for domestic flights. Did United and American really need to each have 15 flights a day on 737’s and A320’s between ORD-LAX, even in the previous environment? Probably not.

  137. As it was said in the TV show Amos and Andy , there are two kinds of people. One is a stuckee and and one is a stucker . You are a stuckee and you are stuck.

  138. It’s simple. Did the airline cancel the flight plan filed with the FAA? If yes, then the flight was cancelled. No weasel words needed.

  139. No it is NOT that simple. How many times in the past have you gotten a notice that “your flight has changed” and the airline made a change like the flight number or departure/arrival time? In the past these were usually minor with changes under 30 minutes in either direction most of the time. Per your logic this would be a “cancellation”. It simply isn’t – it is rebooking as allowed under their contract of carriage (which I suggest all you people read before you spout off) and also within general DOT guidelines.

    People need to understand that you DO NOT buy a seat on a specific flight (that also is clarified in the contract of carriage), you buy a SERVICE to get you from point A to point B and if that is done in the same class of service you paid for within a reasonable time period (up to interpretation in some cases) the airline has met their obligation.

    I fully understand people being stuck with trips they don’t want to take. I have cancelled most of mine but have 2 first class tickets for a flight my wife and I planned in June (for a concert) that total around $1000 w American. I doubt the flight will be cancelled to allow refund (American policy is typically 2 hour change in either direction or outright cancellation of the flight) so I’m looking at a credit. If there is a minor change in the time or flight number I’m not expecting a refund providing the flight is in the same general timeframe and will use the credit later.

    People are trying to use logic to justify a refund for changes they never would have thought twice about 6 months ago and I’m telling you it isn’t right and won’t fly with whatever complaint you file (DOT, credit card, etc.) since the airline is meeting their obligation. Now I disagree a 6 hour change is reasonable and United is playing all kinds of games to avoid refunds that are pretty disgusting but it is sad they passengers have renewed righteous indignation and demand their money back over minor scheduling changes. Get real people!

  140. Redefining a word to fit their agenda will not be a challenge for DOT. I’m sure the intelligent folks at the DOT will reword the ruling to accommodate the absurdity.

  141. This doesnt defy logic, its just classic lawyering by an airline trying to survive in a world where the definition of normal changes at the speed of heat. Its business, and it happens. Is it customer friendly? No. Is it ridiculous? Yes. Is 6 hours too long? Yes. Will United get away with it? Yes, unless enough people complain to the DoT, but even that will just get more lawyers shouting at one another costing – you guessed it – more money. If DoT want to keep things like this from happening, then they need to be really stringent in their language. Of course, if DoT get strict, they are accused of being draconian and possibly even sued by airlines . And round the circle we go.

  142. I received a text from United that my flight was canceled, one day before my travel. I requested a cash refund and they denied me based on what I assume was based on that last rule. However, they never send me an email or a text that they HAVE rebooked me on different flights within 6 hours. I filed DOT complaint a day after my denial.

    Anything else I should do? Is United regular customer service equipped in giving me a cash refund ? There isn’t a way to get to someone on the phone through “refunds” call option.

  143. So I received notification that our flights from EWR to LIM scheduled for June 18 and return on Jun 30 were cancelled. Looked up our confirmation number and found we were “rescheduled” for that same dates going to IAH, with no connecting flight to LIM.

    So the reservation still exists and I would be the one to “cancel” and get charged.

    Applied for a refund through their convoluted online form.

    We will see. If anything, a chargeback will be done.

  144. UAL got a $5 billion bailout from the US taxpayer including a $3.5 billion direct grant and they refuse to give their customers a cash refund for cancelled flights per US DOT rules.

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