Can United Airlines really give me a voucher instead of a refund?!

United Airlines canceled many flights early in the pandemic and routinely shoved vouchers instead of refunds at its disgruntled passengers. This unorthodox (and illegal) practice continued until the Department of Transportation put the brakes on it in April 2020.

Earlier that month, United Airlines canceled Michelle Noppenberger’s flight and automatically issued her a voucher instead of a refund. Eighteen months later, she’s still fuming about the situation and wants the airline to give her money back. And she’s asking the Elliott Advocacy team to help her get it.

But after all this time, will United Airlines take back this unwanted voucher and refund her $1,764?

Let’s find out.

This cautionary tale shines a light on one significant way that airlines mistreated their customers during the pandemic. Noppenberger is just one of many who United Airlines “awarded” a voucher instead of a refund as the DOT requires. Now that the dust has settled, is there any way for a passenger to correct this injustice?

This is how to get a refund from a bankrupt airline

The pandemic has been especially hard on the travel industry. Many businesses have not survived. The latest casualty is Alitalia which closed down forever on Oct. 15. This closure has left many Alitalia customers wondering how to get a refund from the bankrupt airline.

And what happens if an airline goes belly up in the middle of your vacation and leaves you stranded abroad?

For Kesleigh Eysie, these weren’t hypothetical questions. She found herself stuck in Paris after Primera Air suddenly canceled her flight home. Although the economically challenged company promised a refund and even an additional stipend, it didn’t follow through. Instead, the airline went bankrupt and stopped operating entirely.

Now Eysie wants to know if there is any way to get her money back from the bankrupt airline.

Eysie’s dilemma should serve as a warning for travelers considering buying a low-cost ticket on an unfamiliar or financially unstable airline. Although you may be able to score a bargain basement priced flight, it’s essential to do a little research before plunking down your money. Or, like Eysie, you could end up with a worthless ticket on a bankrupt airline — and a big financial headache. (Originally published: March 2019,  updated Oct. 31, 2021)

This United business class upgrade wasn’t worth $999. I want my money back!

It’s not likely that any airline would refund a business class upgrade after a passenger completes the trip. But that’s precisely what Juli Talec says an employee of United Airlines promised to do before her recent upgrade.

Talec insists that she never intended to pay to boost her seat into the elite section of the aircraft. So why did she sign a credit card receipt for the business class upgrade at the United Airlines check-in counter?

That’s the $999 question of the day.

Talec’s strange tale underscores just how important it is for travelers to familiarize themselves with basic airline protocol. You can’t enjoy a business class upgrade on United Airlines or any other carrier and expect a refund later. Unfortunately, this passenger learned that lesson just a little too late.

What happens if the name on your passport doesn’t match your ticket?

Can you fly off to an international destination if the name on your ticket does not match the name on your passport?

Ralph Lantz found out the answer in a devastating way. He booked his friend, Jackie, a ticket to meet him on a dream vacation to Greece. But his generous gesture went all wrong at the check-in counter. That’s where Jackie’s Mediterranean plans came to an abrupt end when a Virgin Atlantic agent pointed out that the name on her ticket was not the same as the one on her passport.

Now Lantz wants to know how he can get his money back for the flight. (This article originally appeared in 2019)

Singapore Airlines owes me a refund. How do I get it?

Singapore Airlines promises Rebecca Engelmann a refund for the flights she canceled during the pandemic. She decides to file a credit card dispute. Then things get complicated. Is there a way out?

Question

My family and I canceled our airline tickets last year because of COVID-19. Singapore Airlines promised to refund the tickets but said it would take 16 weeks. I filed a credit card dispute with Citibank.

Citibank issued a temporary credit for the tickets. A month later Singapore Airlines refunded one of the five tickets. But then, in October, Citibank closed the claim and charged us again for all the tickets.

Our credit card company said Singapore Airlines initiated a chargeback in September, and we lost the claim. Singapore said they “allowed the chargeback back” for the other four tickets in summer and therefore they won’t refund the money again, but the credit card company said it’s Singapore Airlines who we need to deal with. Can you help us? — Rebecca Engelmann, White Plains, NY

My honeymoon ended in disaster at the airport! Who owes me $7,000?

Daniela Jedlicki’s honeymoon recently ended in disaster before it even began. She says a series of mistakes caused the couple to be denied boarding their honeymoon flight to Turks and Caicos. Jedlicki blames both her booking agent and insurance company for those errors.

Now she’s asking our team to find out who owes her $7,000 for this honeymoon disaster.

Unfortunately, the culprit of this fiasco is someone she never suspected.

Can JetBlue really refuse to let my cat fly home from vacation?!

Flying with your cat internationally can be complicated — especially when an airline changes its pet policy mid-trip.

Yekis Fortunato found out just how complicated after flying JetBlue to the Dominican Republic with her 19-year-old cat, Foxxy. Shockingly, soon after arrival, the airline summarily canceled the feline’s return flight. The reason? JetBlue’s updated policy prohibiting any pets from flying to or from the island on its aircraft.

Now Fortunato is begging the Elliott Advocacy team to ask JetBlue to let her beloved cat fly home as scheduled.

Can we get JetBlue to change its mind? Or will Foxxy be forced to become a permanent resident of the Dominican Republic?

If you take $158,000 in jewelry on a flight and it goes missing, who pays?

Traveling with $158,000 worth of anything is a risky endeavor. Rose Cohen found out just how risky when all her high-value jewelry went missing during her recent JetBlue flight.

She believes an organized crime ring targeted her, ultimately forcing her to gate-check the bag that contained the jewelry. Her theory? This move allowed the thieves to help themselves to her gems before the flight even took off.

Now she wants to know who is going to pay for her loss.

Unfortunately, she’s not going to like the answer.

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