Flying Towards Conflict

Refund refusal?

Despite the current state of the nation and the world, American Airlines, among other flight companies, have continued to operate.  While many individuals have opted to cancel travel plans, others are left with no other choice than to travel internationally or across state lines. The airlines initially appeared to take a flexible approach to the mass request for refunds and cancellations.  Many customers, however, claim that when they asked for their money back, American Airlines’ response was unfavorable, leaving many to blame the airline of deceptive business practices.  As a result of this alleged mishandling, customers have taken legal action.

The class action lawsuit, filed on behalf of an Arizona, American Airlines traveler, accuses the airline of pressuring their customers toward solutions that seem to favor the company over the paying customer. Travel vouchers and the decision to rebook a flight are the common alternatives presented by the airline.  While there remains an uncertainty of when it will be entirely safe to travel again, these options leave consumers in a position of frustration.  Most just want their money back.  In the case of the Arizona resident, after American Airlines cancelled one leg of his journey home at the end of March, he was left stranded in Peru.  The next available flight home would not be until May 7, about a month after his expectant travel date.  He was forced to figure out alternative means to travel home, shelling out even more money in the process.  American Airlines has yet to provide a refund for his cancelled flight.

Regardless of the claims against American Airlines, the company asserts to maintain its commitment to its customers.  Customers who are forced to cancel their travel plans for trips scheduled through September 30, 2020 are afforded the choice to rebook before December 21, 2021.  The airline also reminds its customers that if their flight is cancelled by the airline, they are encouraged to request their money back through the company’s website. Due to the lack of urgency in issuing the reimbursements to customers, the US Department of Transportation has issued a statement to the public: if the airlines are forced to cancel flights, refunds must be issued hastily.