Part of your nonrefundable airline ticket is refundable, after all

By | April 6th, 2009

It turns out your nonrefundable ticket isn’t entirely nonrefundable, after all. Taxes and government fees, which until now have disappeared into a void — and many believe, are simply pocketed by airlines — can be returned.

Just do what Susan Cornell did when Spirit Airlines wouldn’t refund the taxes and fees on her canceled ticket: dispute your credit card charge.

Several months ago, she asked Spirit for her money back, but it didn’t bother responding. Undeterred, she wrote to government officials and told her story to a national audience on Peter Greenberg’s radio show.

Today we checked our American Express bill, where we charged the Spirit tickets, and we were given a $42 credit yesterday from Spirit. This is the amount in dispute — We won!


Apparently they can’t keep the pre-paid travel taxes and government fees!

Maybe this small victory will put the spotlight on Spirit’s billing practices and force Spirit to return money to others. Can you imagine how much money that might be?

Yes, I can.

It has all the makings of a class-action lawsuit that would involve the entire airline industry, particularly if an audit showed that airlines kept all of the money paid in taxes and fees and passed none of it along to the government. But even if it did, passengers would be able to take up their case with governments and airports. I’d pay good money to see that trial.

Has anyone else managed to get a refund on fees and taxes on a domestic, nonrefundable airline ticket?



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