Question: I recently booked a flight on Expedia from Dallas to Midland, Texas, with my wife. She died before we could make the trip. I canceled her ticket and applied for a refund through Expedia, the online agency through which I had booked the ticket.
I furnished all the requested documentation, including the death certificate. After not hearing anything from either Expedia or American Airlines, I called Expedia this week and was told that American had refused the refund.
The reason given was that all American could do was issue a credit for a future flight. But since my wife wouldn’t be able to use the credit, they weren’t even going to do that.
Now, the amount involved isn’t going to break me, nor would it break American Airlines, but the bizarre reasoning for the refusal just smacks of lousy customer relations. On top of American’s poor attitude, Expedia never informed me of the refusal of the refund until I initiated the call.
Sure I’d like a refund but you can bet your bottom dollar I will never darken the door of either American or Expedia again. — David Walters, Plano, Texas
Answer: My condolences on the loss of your wife. Airlines routinely offer a full refund when a passenger dies, and your online travel agency should have been able to return your money when you sent it proof of your spouse’s passing.
The death of a passenger is one of the most common exceptions to the nonrefundability rule on airline tickets (the other is military orders). Once Expedia and American were informed of the event, the refund should have been more or less automatic.