Delta Canceled Flight "Not offering refunds at this time"

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Feb 20, 2019
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Delta canceled a round trip flight originating in Dublin, Ireland on April 4th to Atlanta, GA. Return flight to Dublin on April 11th. I contacted Delta on March 31st to get a refund for the flight they canceled. The rep told me that "Not offering refunds at this time" but she put in a request for a refund. It could take up to 21 days for the refund to be approved, if it is approved. I have a print out of the transcript. Should I do anything else? Since this flight was to originate in Europe, aren't I entitled to a refund no matter what? I have not flown in 20 years so I am totally unfamiliar with flying regulations in the US, and much less in Europe. Can someone guide me to what my next step should be? Should I wait 21 days and then appeal if they don't approve? I could use some of your wisdom here. Thank you.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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Call your US Senator. Three Senators in the Northeast got wind of this and have called on the airlines to provide refunds.
I have to agree ... it's going to take the airlines forever to deal with the fallout of all the cancelled flights. Might as well see if the politicians will help ... wouldn't that be great? After all, they're giving our tax money to the airline, so we should get something out of it. It will still take forever, tho.
 
Sep 18, 2018
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Wouldn't this situation be a candidate for a credit card dispute? You have purchased a product/service that wasn't provided through no fault of your own.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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The airlines are claiming "force majeur". But we have heard some that filed DOT complaints were given refunds. I think there is going to be a lot of fallout about this. Write to your representatives and let them know.
 
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May 1, 2018
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The airlines are claiming "force majeur".
But isn't any weather related cancellation also force majeur? And yet the airlines have always given refunds in that scenario. It's happened to me on a number of occasions when my flight gets cancelled due to snow. I know this is an unprecedented crisis, but I was really hoping laws would still apply. It's appalling that businesses are keeping people's money even when they are not providing the product/service.
 

Neil Maley

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This is a whole different scenario than any other situation we have ever seen. I believe that not offering refunds if the airline cancels is against IATA policy but everyone is trying to get through this right now and I think fall back will happen as time goes on.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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But isn't any weather related cancellation also force majeur? And yet the airlines have always given refunds in that scenario. It's happened to me on a number of occasions when my flight gets cancelled due to snow. I know this is an unprecedented crisis, but I was really hoping laws would still apply. It's appalling that businesses are keeping people's money even when they are not providing the product/service.
No -- a snowstorm in Chicago is not force majeur -- it is part of the weather pattern of Chicago. Mt. St. Helens erupting was a force majeure. Part of what makes something a force majeure is not being foreseen or being predictable. Fog in London is predictable, hurricanes in Miami -- predictable. Massive snowstorm in Fiji would be another story and would be force majeure.

SARS and MERS did not spread this rapidly -- and there is still a lot that is not understood about the nature of the virus and transmission, so there is not a lot that can be predicted.
 
May 1, 2018
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No -- a snowstorm in Chicago is not force majeur -- it is part of the weather pattern of Chicago. Mt. St. Helens erupting was a force majeure. Part of what makes something a force majeure is not being foreseen or being predictable. Fog in London is predictable, hurricanes in Miami -- predictable. Massive snowstorm in Fiji would be another story and would be force majeure.

SARS and MERS did not spread this rapidly -- and there is still a lot that is not understood about the nature of the virus and transmission, so there is not a lot that can be predicted.
Delta consider's any weather condition to be force majeure.

From Delta's contract of carriage:

Except as provided above, Delta shall have no liability if the flight cancellation, diversion or delay was due to force majeure. As used in this rule, “force majeure” means actual, threatened or reported:

(1) Weather conditions or acts of God;
(2) Riots, civil unrest, embargoes, war, hostilities, or unsettled international conditions;
(3) Strikes, work stoppages, slowdowns, lockout, or any other labor-related dispute;
(4) Government regulation, demand, directive or requirement;
(5) Shortages of labor, fuel, or facilities; or
(6) Any other condition beyond Delta’s control or any fact not reasonably foreseen by Delta.
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
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It's somewhat of a moot point. Per the contract, force majeure does not relieve Delta of the obligation to refund the ticket if the flight is cancelled. It only relieves them of the obligation for hotels/transportation/other amenities. That's what the "Except as provided above" refers to.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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Delta consider's any weather condition to be force majeure.

From Delta's contract of carriage:



Delta’s policy is not in line with EU 261 — their definition is different. This was a flight leaving originating in the EU. And EU regulation supercedes the contract of carriage
 

Neil Maley

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It's somewhat of a moot point. Per the contract, force majeure does not relieve Delta of the obligation to refund the ticket if the flight is cancelled. It only relieves them of the obligation for hotels/transportation/other amenities. That's what the "Except as provided above" refers to.
I believe this is also a violation of IATA rules as well.
 
Jul 7, 2018
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Not sure if I missed something here but when I read the OP's question I didn't get the impression that it was an American citizen. Not sure writing to a representative would help OP. Maybe point of purchase does not matter if it is an American airline. Just curious.

"Since this flight was to originate in Europe, aren't I entitled to a refund no matter what? I have not flown in 20 years so I am totally unfamiliar with flying regulations in the US, and much less in Europe."
 
Dec 5, 2014
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Since travel is originating in Europe, this is a case for the European regulators. Help is available at this website:

 
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Apr 2, 2020
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I just went through the same thing with United. They canceled a flight leg (it was actually on the return leg) prior to my departure on the outbound leg. The only reaccommodation they could offer on the same day would have been to add an additional flight segment (three flights vs. two) and through SFO. I said no thanks, I'll take a refund for the whole trip. I'm a status passenger and used the status line.

Agent #1 said "we're not giving refunds right now" I said you canceled the flight, not me. I hung up and called back. Agent #2 insisted that the flight wasn't canceled (it clearly was, I verified it online while we were on the call). I hung up and called back. Agent #3 said, I see, yes we canceled the flight, no you don't have to accept the reaccommodation, here's your refund.

If they cancel, you're owed a refund. Contesting the charge on your card absolutely should work as well (service was never provided).
 

Neil Maley

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If your airline an els your flight and is telling you that you can only get a credit, file a DOT COMPLANT.

From the DOT rules:


Am I Entitled to a Refund?
When the airline is at fault:

Passengers are often entitled to a refund of the ticket price and associated fees when the airline is at fault.

  • Cancelled Flight – A passenger is entitled to a refund if the airline cancelled a flight, regardless of the reason, and the passenger chooses not to be rebooked on a new flight on that airline.

 
Apr 2, 2020
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This morning my credit card was credited with a refund for two tickets to Ecuador which flights Delta had cancelled on 3/23/20. I called Delta on 3/31/20 and requested a refund mentioning the refund policy in place when I purchased the tickets in 11/19 and the DOT policy. The customer service represented simply said ok and that it would take up to 21 days for me to receive the refund. I received the refund two days later