Extenuating Circumstances Refund from XL Airways

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Nov 6, 2016
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I had to cancel a trip to Paris with only a couple days notice as my grandmother was critically ill in the hospital (and ultimately passed away). The tickets were nonrefundable, but Travelocity, through which I purchased the tickets, assured me that all airlines have an extenuating circumstances policy for situations such as these and that I may be able to get some money back. I called the airline (XL Airways) directly and they were fairly rude and unhelpful, saying there is nothing they can do for me, and I can try submitting something via the website. I did that a few times and never heard back. Travelocity offered to contact the airline on my behalf, asking me to provide documentation in the form of a doctor's note (which I did). Travelocity quickly wrote back saying they submitted my appeal and it was summarily denied by the airline. I have now reported XL Airways both to the US DOT Aviation Consumer Protection Division and the Better Business Bureau. I also posted a couple messages to the company via Twitter and Facebook. They weren't particularly nasty, but after reading some of this stuff, maybe I shouldn't have even done that. I'm just so frustrated and disgusted that they won't even respond. Even if they won't offer any sort of refund or credit, I wish at least one person at that company had responded with sympathy and compassion to my situation. Is there anything else I can do or am I just out of luck?
 
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Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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I am sorry for your loss.

Did either Travelocity or XL say if you have a credit to use toward a future ticket? Depending on the terms of your ticket, most airlines allow you to use the value of your ticket minus change fees toward another ticket. It would need to be used one year from the original purchase date though.

One option is to write a brief, polite and professional email to the execs of XL asking for an exception to their rules for non-refundable tickets. Write to only one at a time....you may come across a sympathetic ear.

Lastly, Travelocity is incorrect in telling you that most airlines will give refunds under extenuating circumstances. This forum is full of customers just like you requesting help in securing refunds. It rarely happens. I wish I had better news for you!
 
Jan 5, 2015
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I'm sorry about your grandmother.

I wish you hadn't filled compliants with the DOT or the BBB. Under the terms of the contract you agreed to when purchasing the tickets, the fares are non refundable. Travelocity was correct in saying that they sometimes grant compassionate exceptions. But you have to ask, nicely, hat in hand. By filing with these two agencies I fear all you're going to get is radio silence or a summary "no".

But you can use our contacts at http://elliott.org/company-contacts/xl-airways-france/. Write the first executive on the list, asking nicely for a credit. Wait a week. If you don't hear anything move on to the next executive. Do not write them all at once and do not start with the CEO. Both decrease your chances of a successful resolution.

Best of luck to you and please let us know of any questions or updates.
 
Nov 6, 2016
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Thank you both for your responses. No one has offered me any sort of credit -- originally all that I hoped for was a couple hundred dollar credit so that I could rebook my trip. But XL has offered nothing and never even responded directly to me. I will try writing to the executives one at time.

I just filed the complaints with DOT and BBB yesterday -- should I try and withdraw them? Honestly I feel like they should be reported solely because they do not respond to customer complaints in any way.
 
Jan 5, 2015
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You can try to withdraw them. I honestly don't know what their policy is towards these things.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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If you have your ticket handy, read to see what are the terms of the fare you purchased. It should say things like $XX for any changes made after purchase, credit for any unused portion of the fare, etc. If you are interested in rebooking the ticket you have a much greater chance of succeeding with your plea than a refund BUT you may not even have to do that if the terms of your ticket allow you the value minus the change fee.

One more question, did you cancel the ticket prior to departure? It is important that any time you do not intend to fly on your scheduled departure that you cancel before the flight has departed otherwise the airline considers you a "no show" and your ticket value is forfeited.

Good luck! We have seen things turn around with one well written email to the right person..........who that person is is anyone's guess though!
 
Nov 6, 2016
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I don't have a physical ticket. The e-ticket from Travelocity just says: "Tickets are nonrefundable, nontransferable and name changes are not allowed." I don't believe exchanges for a different date are allowed, but it doesn't clearly state that. I have asked for a credit to be used towards a future flight several times and have been ignored up to this point. And yes, I cancelled my tickets prior to departure. Flights were scheduled for 10/5/16 and 10/10/16 and I cancelled them both on 10/3/16 (and have email proof of this).

I have sent an email to the first executive, even using a web service to translate my message into French. I'm also contacting BBB and US DOT to see if they can hold off on pursuing my complaints for now. I hope this works. Thanks everyone for the advice!
 
Sep 19, 2015
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I am sorry about your grandmother ChrissyF. I had to look up XL airlines as I was unfamiliar with them. They seem to be a fairly small budget almost charter airline which is why it may be hard to get any response -- the entire fleet consists of 6 airplanes. Some of the fares are very restrictive; the economy promotion class is the most restrictive and seems to have no allowances for cancellations or change -- that is booking class E/U/X. The economy standard fare allows for changes for a fee, which is booking class V/H/T/ L/M/Q/O. The website is pretty cumbersome and not well designed.
 
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JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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Next time do not use Travelocity, Expedia, orbitz, etc. They each have cancellation rules & fees, plus the airlines have additional rules & fees. It would have been so much easier to deal directly with the airline, rather than thru an extra layer of rules. These outfits are good to do your research thru to get an idea about what available and prices but book direct with the airline and cut out the middle man.

I'm afraid going directly to DOT and BBB you will have difficulty asking them to bend their rules as a favor/exception. With most airlines you would have at the very least had a 1 yr credit and had to pay a change fee.

How long ago did you cancel? And did you cancel directly and get a cancelation confirmation?
 
Nov 6, 2016
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I did not buy travel insurance - I had read on some travel website it's a waste of money and doesn't cover a lot of what you think it will cover. I've also never had to cancel a trip for any reason other than weather before, in which case the airlines have always been accommodating. But I guess I will now research travel insurance next time I fly. And no, my credit card company doesn't offer any protection -- I already called them to ask.

I cancelled on Oct 3 via Travelocity, as XL's automated phone system directed me to do this (they don't seem to allow you to cancel with them if you didn't book direct with them). But I do have an email verification of my cancellation from Travelocity.

Thank you for the terms and conditions. I do think I had the lowest fare class, as on the phone someone told me it was a promotional fare. So I guess my only hope now is if one of the executives takes pity on me and grants an exception.
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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As you can see you read an untrue story about travel insurance. This is precisely what the right policy covers.

We have a great thread here on purchasing the right polucybsnd what it covers. Please purchase in the future. A good rule of thumb - if you can't afford to lose every penny you have paid for a trip if something like this happens and you can't travel- you need travel insurance.

http://forum.elliott.org/threads/the-right-travel-insurance.1283/

I did not buy travel insurance - I had read on some travel website it's a waste of money and doesn't cover a lot of what you think it will cover. I've also never had to cancel a trip for any reason other than weather before, in which case the airlines have always been accommodating. But I guess I will now research travel insurance next time I fly. And no, my credit card company doesn't offer any protection -- I already called them to ask.

I cancelled on Oct 3 via Travelocity, as XL's automated phone system directed me to do this (they don't seem to allow you to cancel with them if you didn't book direct with them). But I do have an email verification of my cancellation from Travelocity.

Thank you for the terms and conditions. I do think I had the lowest fare class, as on the phone someone told me it was a promotional fare. So I guess my only hope now is if one of the executives takes pity on me and grants an exception.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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I don't have a physical ticket. The e-ticket from Travelocity just says: "Tickets are nonrefundable, nontransferable and name changes are not allowed." I don't believe exchanges for a different date are allowed, but it doesn't clearly state that. I have asked for a credit to be used towards a future flight several times and have been ignored up to this point. And yes, I cancelled my tickets prior to departure. Flights were scheduled for 10/5/16 and 10/10/16 and I cancelled them both on 10/3/16 (and have email proof of this).

I have sent an email to the first executive, even using a web service to translate my message into French. I'm also contacting BBB and US DOT to see if they can hold off on pursuing my complaints for now. I hope this works. Thanks everyone for the advice!
Translating into French - well done! The French love people who try to behave according to French rules and speak/write in French. I've been travelling to France for years, there's no place I'd rather visit. The French do think that they are superior to other nationalities ... and I happen to agree with them, being a hard-core Francofile. This makes it easy to get along in France.

If this is a budget airline, they probably don't have much of a complaint department, so don't take their treatment of your request personally. When you contact the first executive, make your letter polite and concise, no emotion, just a request for a credit towards a future flight. Booking through an OTA often makes problems worse, as they stand between you and the airline and they're not much help. Next time, book directly with an airline or hotel.

I am sorry you lost your grandmother, and your trip as well. Hopefully you can travel to France next spring. Be aware that any credit they give you will usually expire one year from the date you booked the tix, not the date of travel. Good luck, Chrissy, and please keep us updated.
 
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R

Realitoes

Guest
I did not buy travel insurance - I had read on some travel website it's a waste of money and doesn't cover a lot of what you think it will cover. I've also never had to cancel a trip for any reason other than weather before, in which case the airlines have always been accommodating. But I guess I will now research travel insurance next time I fly. And no, my credit card company doesn't offer any protection -- I already called them to ask.
Chrissy, if you just called the CSR for the credit card, they may have give you the wrong info. You really need to check with the Benefits Administrator. You might able to located your credit cards benefits guide online. If you tell which type credit card you have and through which bank/company, we can try to help you locate it.

Especially when traveling outside the US, you want to have travel insurance including some medical coverage. Many US medical insurance policies, (and Medicare) do not provide coverage outside the US. If you have to seek medical treatment while overseas because of illness or injury, it can up to the thousands very quickly. Good research sites for travel insurance are insuremytrip.com and squaremouth.com
 
May 17, 2016
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402
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I had to cancel a trip to Paris with only a couple days notice as my grandmother was critically ill in the hospital (and ultimately passed away). The tickets were nonrefundable, but Travelocity, through which I purchased the tickets, assured me that all airlines have an extenuating circumstances policy for situations such as these and that I may be able to get some money back. I called the airline (XL Airways) directly and they were fairly rude and unhelpful, saying there is nothing they can do for me, and I can try submitting something via the website. I did that a few times and never heard back. Travelocity offered to contact the airline on my behalf, asking me to provide documentation in the form of a doctor's note (which I did). Travelocity quickly wrote back saying they submitted my appeal and it was summarily denied by the airline. I have now reported XL Airways both to the US DOT Aviation Consumer Protection Division and the Better Business Bureau. I also posted a couple messages to the company via Twitter and Facebook. They weren't particularly nasty, but after reading some of this stuff, maybe I shouldn't have even done that. I'm just so frustrated and disgusted that they won't even respond. Even if they won't offer any sort of refund or credit, I wish at least one person at that company had responded with sympathy and compassion to my situation. Is there anything else I can do or am I just out of luck?
I'm sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, nonrefundable is just that, no matter what the circumstances. But it is discretionary. I wish you hadn't filed complaints with the DOT and the BBB--the airline did nothing wrong. Can those complaints be withdrawn? And I hope your messages on Facebook and Twitter were not nasty ones. Perhaps eating some humble pie, attributing your rash behavior to grief, will have better results when dealing with the airline.
 
Aug 31, 2015
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Don't turn around . . . .
@ChrissyF - did you check your credit card company for travel insurance coverage?

Just because you didn't buy travel insurance does not mean you don't HAVE insurance.

Log into your bank issuer- and see if they have travel benefits- most do - unless you used a debit card. But then no one should ever use a debit card . . . . I won't start that rant again.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,026
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www.promalvacations.com
@ChrissyF - did you check your credit card company for travel insurance coverage?

Just because you didn't buy travel insurance does not mean you don't HAVE insurance.

Log into your bank issuer- and see if they have travel benefits- most do - unless you used a debit card. But then no one should ever use a debit card . . . . I won't start that rant again.
I asked that a while ago.
 
Nov 6, 2016
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Thanks all! For some reason I didn't see many of these messages until now. A couple of things:

1. Better Business Bureau did allow me to withdraw the complaint as they hadn't processed it yet. US DOT does not take complaints out of the system once entered, but told me they changed the complaint code to a "99" request for information that won't count again the airline (and notified the airline of this change).

2. I have the Visa Signature Card through Capital One. They told me they do offer protection if you have a medical emergency or other emergency while abroad, but do not cover trip cancellation for this type of account. The man I spoke with seemed very well informed and offered concrete details of what they do cover, so I don't think I have any reason to doubt him.

3. I actually don't think you can book directly with XL in the U.S. Their website is very hard to use, but I think I had checked and your only option is a travel agency or site like Travelocity. That may not be accurate, but in any case I will avoid them in future. The money you save is not worth it given the lack of customer service support.

4. The first executive I wrote to forwarded my email to a customer service rep who finally responded and extended condolences a day or two ago. However she said no refund was possible and did not respond at all to my request for a credit.

I am not confident I will get anywhere, but will try writing to the other two executives on the list one at a time. I have nothing to lose at this point.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,026
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www.promalvacations.com
Unfortunately, you can't force them to do anything as they didn't do anything wrong in the first place. Maybe one of the other executives will make an exception but if you didn't have travel insurance, there is not much you can do if all the executives say no.

It is may be an expensive lesson on how travel insurance could have saved you here. But don't give up until you have written to the other two executives.