Q: I bought two tickets from Aegean Airlines just before the COVID-19 shutdown. The airline offered vouchers for credit, redeemable for cash after a year.
After the year ended, I received a refund for one of the tickets. But Aegean shows the other as “already redeemed,” even though it hasn’t been. To add confusion, the refund for the one ticket does not indicate which one was refunded.
— Benn Karne, Oakland, California
A: You should have received that second ticket refund by now.
Aegean Airlines’ refund policy, while not perfect, is better than most. Many European airlines canceled their flights and forced customers to accept a voucher that expired after a year. If they couldn’t use the flight credit within a year, the airline got to keep the money.
Your credit worked the other way. If you couldn’t use the voucher, you received a full refund. (What’s the ideal resolution, you ask? A full refund after the cancellation. But we don’t live in an ideal world.)
I’m not surprised that refund cases like yours are dragging on for years, literally. Airlines and other travel companies would rather forget the beginning of the outbreak, and they are more focused on the future than on a few painful months in 2020 when it looked like the sky was falling. But you can’t let them forget.
I publish the names, numbers and email addresses of the customer service managers at Aegean Airlineas on my consumer advocacy site at elliott.org/company-contacts/aegean-airlines/. But a review of your case suggests those names were only enough to get you the first refund.
In fact, you sent numerous emails and a polite letter to the CEO using our online contacts. Then the airline refunded your first ticket. But Aegean’s site showed it had refunded both tickets.
So what was the problem? I contacted the airline on your behalf. A representative said the airline had tried to send the second refund to your bank, but it seems the transfer failed. That can happen when the account number is incorrect. But you had supplied the right bank account number. I think it’s possible someone on the other end didn’t type your bank account information in correctly on the second ticket.
You re-sent the account number. This time, the refund went through.
Christopher Elliott is the chief advocacy officer of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers resolve their problems. Elliott’s latest book is “How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). Contact him at elliott.org/help or email@example.com.