Why won’t Air France refund my $568 after a canceled flight?

Air France canceled Liga Aldins’ flight from Boston to Paris last spring. But it’s still holding her $568. Who has the money?

  • Sunday, June 20, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

Q: I’ve been trying for months to get a refund from Expedia for flights canceled during the pandemic. Although Expedia has politely replied to all my refund requests, I still don’t have my money.

I used Expedia to book round-trip tickets from Boston to Paris on Air France last March. Just before the departure date, I received a text message from Air France. It said it canceled my flight from Boston to Paris because of the virus and rebooked me on a Delta flight instead. Air France transferred my flight without my knowledge or consent. Of course, Delta canceled its flight as well.

Since that time, I have made multiple requests for a refund of $568. Every time, Expedia has politely replied that the request is on the way, but there are delays because Air France is “overwhelmed” with the cancellation requests. An Expedia representative said it could take up to 12 weeks, but it’s been much longer. Can you help me get a refund for the canceled Air France flight?

— Liga Aldins,

Westwood, Massachusetts

A: Air France owes you a prompt refund. If an airline cancels your flight, you’re entitled to an immediate refund. If you accept a rescheduled flight, then the same cancellation terms apply as before. Which is to say, if the airline cancels, you can get a full refund; if you cancel, you get a ticket credit. But you never accepted the new flight.

I see the back and forth between you and Expedia in the paper trail you provided. You were correct to lean on your online travel agent for a refund, but it looks as if the site was powerless to move your refund forward. It wasn’t even clear who had your money. Was it Air France, Delta or Expedia? (Answer: It was Air France.)

I understand that refunds are slower during the pandemic, but this is ridiculous. Working with Expedia should make the process move faster, since technically an online travel agent is your advocate.

You could have reached out to an executive at Expedia. I publish the names, numbers and email addresses of Expedia’s managers on my consumer advocacy site at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/expedia-customer-service-contacts. If that didn’t work, you could have also reached out to Air France (www.elliott.org/company-contacts/air-france) or Delta (www.elliott.org/company-contacts/delta-air-lines-customer-service-contacts). Many readers have used the executive contacts for help getting refunds during the pandemic, and those executives were very responsive.

I like the fact that you kept all of your communication with Expedia in writing. That’s great if you have to prove you did your due diligence (which you certainly did). But at some point, you’ll need to escalate this to the next level.

By the way, if that doesn’t work, you can always file a dispute with your credit card company. That’s also worked for a lot of travelers seeking pandemic flight refunds.

I contacted Expedia on your behalf. It offered a $100 voucher to make up for the sluggish refund and promised a refund from the airlines. But Expedia warned that it would take another 10 to 12 weeks. “Unfortunately, we have no way to expedite this since the refund is coming from the airline rather than Expedia,” the representative told me.

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 chris@elliott.org.

Talk to us

More in Life

Bright beautiful background of ripe fruits. Organic healthy food.
On Nutrition: Fructose: The simple sugar with a bad reputation

You shouldn’t fear fructose, which is found naturally in fruit. But you should reduce or limit added sugars.

Hamilton-Beachbum Zombie served at Latitude 29 in New Orleans — and now your own home bar. (Randy Schmidt)
He cracked the Zombie code. Now he has his own Zombie rum

A new spirit from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry is here to reanimate your tiki cocktails.

What do ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ digestion look like in the loo?

There are many benefits of balanced digestion and many risks associated with imbalanced digestion.

Ask a Pediatrician: How high should SPF of kids’ sunscreen be?

The broad-spectrum sunscreen, which will screen out both UVB and UVA rays, should have a sun protection factor of at least 30.

In this easy appetizer, crostini are topped with puttanesca, a spicy sauce made with tomato, capers, olives, garlic and anchovy. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)
Eat This: Puttanesca crostini part of feast of summer fishes

Top little crusts with a simple and spicy sauce made with anchovies, olives, tomatoes, capers and garlic.

Edmonds native and author Nova McBee at Brackets Landing Park on Friday, April 9, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
This Edmonds’ writer’s YA novel offers ‘Calculated’ intrigue

Novelist Nova McBee’s newest work stars a teenage math prodigy trapped in a criminal underworld.

When battling a summer cold, a quick trip to the drugstore and a painless test to rule out Covid helps provide peace of mind. (Jennifer Bardsley)
When you get a cold even though you’re still wearing a mask

She stocked up on over-the-counter medicine at Walgreens after getting a drive-thru COVID-19 test.

Take long view on the big and small decisions of parenthood

It’s important to consider the bigger picture — the values and traits you hope to nurture in your children.

The night watchman signals “All’s well.”
Rothenburg’s night watchman a dangerous job in medieval times

The 15th-century German man would sing the ‘all’s well’ tune at the top of the hour through the night.

Most Read