At long last United Airlines is implementing a reasonable refund policy in the event of schedule changes.
United Airlines will now offer refunds for schedule changes
Since yesterday (June 6, 2020), United Airlines is offering passengers cash refunds in the event that there’s a schedule change of at least two hours (this includes cancelations that cause you to arrive at your destination more than two hours late). This policy should apply retroactively, in the event that you had a past flight canceled as well.
United Airlines once again has a reasonable refund policy
United’s awful refund policies up until now
United Airlines has been the worst among the “big three” US airlines when it comes to their refund policy since COVID-19 started:
- In early March United adjusted their schedule change policy so that you couldn’t get a refund if you could be rebooked within 25 hours; in other words, if your flight was canceled and you were rebooked on a flight 24 hours later, you still didn’t have the option of a cash refund
- Several weeks later United redefined what it means for a flight to be canceled, in order to avoid giving refunds
Why did United finally adjust the refund policy?
The truth is that United didn’t have much of a choice here. The Department of Transportation has made it clear that airlines need to offer refunds in the event of significant schedule changes and cancellations, and United Airlines has been the worst offender when it comes to defying this policy.
Based on the number of DOT complaints, presumably it was getting to the point where the airline was about to be slapped with a fine.
As a United Airlines spokesperson explains this policy change, per Zach Honig:
We are continually looking at ways to better support our customers, and as part of that effort, we’ve updated our guidelines for handling refunds when our flight schedule changes. We have always provided refunds for refundable tickets, and these updated guidelines will offer additional flexibility to our customers requesting refunds for non-refundable tickets when flight changes occur. If our customers would like to check on their refund eligibility, they can go to united.com/refunds to submit a request.
United claims this change is being made because they’re “continually looking at ways to better support customers.” Ironic, given what the airline has been doing for the past few months. Was that also part of United “continually looking at ways to better support customers?”
United was pushing their luck when it came to DOT rules
United Airlines once again has a reasonable refund policy when it comes to schedule changes and flight cancellations, which is great. If the schedule for your flight is changed by at least two hours then you’re entitled to a cash refund, as it should be.