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Delta Sued For Denying Refunds For Canceled Flights

the tail of an airplane at night
Courtesy: Delta Air Lines

Delta Sued For Denying Refunds For Canceled Flights

On Friday, Elliott Daniels of Maryland filed a class action lawsuit against Delta Air Lines for allegedly refusing to issue refunds.  The lawsuit alleges Delta failed to provide Daniels with a refund after the airline canceled his flight.  Under U.S. Department of Transportation regulations, airlines are required to provide refunds for flight cancelations.

Case Background

The complaint filed in the United States District Court of Northern Georgia claims Daniels purchased four roundtrip tickets from Washington Dulles to Cairo, Egypt on February 20, 2020 for a flight on April 1, 2020.

On March 11, 2020, OneTravel notified Daniels the flight he booked was canceled.  The company offered him two options: 1) rebook the flight or 2) cancel the flight with a full refund.  Daniels chose to move the flight to a day earlier, March 31st.

Delta canceled his rebooked flight, and Daniels requested a refund.  Since OneTravel offered a refund after the first cancellation, he thought he was entitled to a refund.  However, OneTravel denied the claim for a refund.  Daniels then requested a refund through the Delta website.  In mid-April, Daniels received notification from Delta that he was only eligible for a flight credit.

The lawsuit alleges Delta purposefully makes it difficult to find information on refunds.  However, a Google search about coronavirus refunds on Delta pulled up a website that outlines how to cancel an impacted flight.

The lawsuit also alleges that Delta wants passengers to accept vouchers over refunds.

Delta’s Response

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Delta claims it did not receive a refund request from Daniels until April 15.  The airline fast-tracked Daniels’ refund request and issued him a full refund on Saturday.  Furthermore, Delta claims it processed more than 1 million refunds totaling over $500 million in March.

Of course, this is not the first U.S. airline to be sued over refund issues.  There are current lawsuits against United and Southwest Airlines, too.  And those cases make similar allegations as the case filed by Daniels.

Know What You’re Entitled To

There are numerous reports of airlines denying refunds since travel issues began in response to the coronavirus outbreak.  It’s important for people to be aware of their rights in these circumstances.  There are specific government regulations that deal with these matters and that lay out what the airlines are required to do in these circumstances.

The Department of Transportation sent an enforcement notification to airlines, but people may still need to take action themselves to ensure they receive what they are owed.  Passengers who feel as though the airline is denying them a refund are free to fill out a complaint with the Department of Transportation.  After that occurs, DOT will get in touch with the airline.  If you are due a refund, DOT will make sure you get it.

Bottom Line

If there is any question whether an airline is giving you what you are owed, reach out to the Department of Transportation.  It doesn’t hurt to make a claim so that they can look into it, especially in the current situation.  Airlines are looking to hold on to cash, and vouchers give them that opportunity.  I can’t speak to whether airlines are purposefully holding on the money for that reason, but there is an advantage for them in providing vouchers over refunds.

Know the rules and regulations and don’t be afraid to quote them when dealing with the airline.



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