How long is too long for an airline ticket refund?

Talk about an airline delay! / Photo by Phil Ostrow - Flickr
Question: We have been trying to get a refund from Southwest Airlines for almost one year. It’s a refund that Southwest fully admits it owes, but always finds another excuse not to pay. I hope you can help us.

Last spring, my family had tickets to fly from Fort Myers, Fla., to Milwaukee, Wis. When we arrived at the gate, a Southwest agent told us our flight was oversold and that all seats had been assigned. We were denied boarding.
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When revenue-hungry airlines play “chicken” with passengers

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Here’s a decision most of us will have to make the next time we fly: Should you splurge for a “premium” seat in economy class — an aisle or a window seat — or leave it to chance, and possibly end up in a middle seat?

It happened to Fred Thompson on a recent Delta Air Lines flight from New York to Detroit. “The Delta website would not let me choose a seat when I booked the ticket four weeks early,” he says. “The day before my flight, I still could not pick a seat. All the economy seats were taken and the only available seats were fee-based with prices ranging from $9 to $29.”
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Is this a scam? Are airlines really giving away “free” flights?

Dick Jordan became suspicious when he received the first postcard offering “two round-trip airfares to anywhere Southwest flies.” He’s a loyal Southwest customer, but this seemed too good to be true – and he thinks it might be a scam.

After Jordan received the second postcard offering the same deal, he decided to contact Southwest Airlines. Maybe they were rewarding him for his continued business? After all, the postcard had the trademarked logo on it, so it seemed legit.

Instead of dialing the “888” number on the card, Jordan contacted a customer service representative at Southwest, who quickly informed him that this was not a deal offered by Southwest Airlines.
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Help, my AirTran tickets expired — is my money gone forever?

Talk about adding insult to injury.

Before Donna Adams was scheduled to fly from Orlando to Indianapolis on AirTran back in 2010, she hurt her back and had to cancel her trip. When she discovered her condition was a lot worse than she thought, she had to postpone the new flight she’d booked with her ticket credit.

“An MRI confirmed that I had herniated a disc in my back,” she says. “After several courses of physical therapy, chiropractic care, therapeutic massage, oral steroids and anti-inflammatory steroid injections I elected to have surgery.”
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Don’t wait too long to ask Southwest Airlines for a refund

Thomas Travia bought a ticket from Philadelphia to Omaha on Southwest Airlines but couldn’t use all of it. Nothing unusual about that — plans change all the time, and the airline offers some of the most flexible ticket change policies in the industry.

What sets this case apart is the type of ticket Travia got. Since he bought it at the airport, it was paper. Then he lost the ticket halfway through his trip and later asked Southwest for a refund. The airline told him he needed to wait, and now it’s telling him he waited too long. Maybe that’s because he traveled in 2008.

This is a strange one, my friends.
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