I have a detached retina, can American see a refund?

By | June 5th, 2016

Denise Morin has emergency surgery for a detached retina. Why can’t she get a refund for her plane ticket from American?

Question: I need your help. I booked a flight and car through Travelocity recently. A few days after that I found out I had to have major eye surgery. My retina was torn very badly. Surgery was a must; [otherwise] I could have been blind. I had to have a gas bubble put behind my eye to hold the retina in place and was told I could not fly for three months.

I asked for paperwork for medical information, and my ophthalmologist gave me a note explaining I had had retina surgery and a gas bubble and was not able to fly.

I called Travelocity and they refunded the rental car, but they said American Airlines wouldn’t budge on my flight. It wasn’t like I planned on having a torn retina.

I do not like to fly, and the only reason I planned this trip is because my granddaughter graduated from high school second in her class, and it was the only thing she has ever asked of me. She wanted me there.

American said I could use my ticket within a year, but this is not acceptable for me. I asked if I could use it for one of my sons to come here, and I was told no.

I reached out to American’s customer service department by certified mail and didn’t get a response either time. I think they should have at least responded as I gave them my phone number and address.

I am not good with computers and have a large problem finding my way around them. My daughter fixed me up with this connection.

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Will you please help me get my refund?–Denise Morin, Summerland Key, Fla.

Answer: Losing your sight must have been scary. It would be dangerous to fly with a gas bubble in your eye. Once you had medical treatment to reattach your retina, you deserved compassion from your airline and online travel agency. Instead, it seemed as though American ignored you.

Or did it? American actually promised to send you a refund, but the check never came.


So what’s going on? You admit that you are not computer-literate and were unable to post to our forums. You did find the American executive contacts on our website and sent several certified letters.

American’s website gives the following information about refunds:

Some tickets are non-refundable. If you have a refundable ticket, American will issue a refund as follows:

•If the ticket is totally unused, the full amount paid will be refunded.

•If the ticket is partially used, the refund will be the difference between the fare paid and the fare for the transportation actually used as determined by the applicable rules.

In addition, if the ticket to be refunded is no longer valid for transportation, an administrative service charge will be assessed upon refund of the ticket. This service charge will be collected by deducting the applicable service charge from the amount which otherwise would be refunded. Tickets will be refunded only to the person named on the ticket as passenger, except that:

1.Tickets purchased with a credit card will be refunded only as a credit to the credit card account,

2.Tickets issued against a prepaid ticket advice will be refunded only to the purchaser, and

3.Tickets issued against a government transportation request will be refunded only to the government agency which issued the transportation request

You emailed our advocates, and we got in touch with our contacts at American. They let us know that your refund was sent to your online travel agency, Travelocity. They stated that Travelocity paid American for your ticket and, as noted on their website (I think this is what point # 2 means), they refund to the purchaser.

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Travelocity’s website promises you can “Change plans with no change or cancellation fees from Travelocity.” With that guarantee, we would expect that your refund would have happened without our intervention.

We contacted Travelocity, and they refunded your money to you.

Travelocity should have seen that they were not entitled to keep your refund, but we were glad to open their eyes.



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