International flights: cancel now or wait? Refund vs. Voucher?

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May 7, 2020
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Neil Maley....one more thing. Many of the stories on this Elliott Advocacy page go into great detail about the need to create a paper trail when dealing with an airline for a refund request, assuming I'm able to get to that point. Do you think that refund request page you kindly highlighted do that?
 
Sep 27, 2018
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The only consistent aspect to this virus is that it has flared up again in countries around the world that seemed to have it contained. Thus no one can predict what will happen in the next couple of weeks, much less 3 months out. My only advice is to watch for signs that the airlines might tighten up on refunds and vouchers as cash runs low. If one airline is contemplating it you can be sure the rest will follow.
 
May 21, 2020
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If that was my intent, I would have done it months ago. I'm hoping Delta cancels my flight(s) making me eligible for a cash refund. And my thread is about Delta. I'm glad you had a positive experience with United, but it would be most helpful to get input from others who are dealing with or have dealt with Delta.
So far this year, I’ve cancelled 2 Delta international flights and got refunds for both. The most recent one I cancelled yesterday for a flight departing in Oct. That flight had been changed multiple times and this last time they had me departing from a different airport. That’s a significant enough change for me that I called to cancel and got a refund back to the cc.

A couple months ago I cancelled another Delta flight because my departure time was changed, my layover was lengthened and my arrival time was past midnight and not acceptable to me. Called and got a refund credited a week later.

I know the prevailing advice is to write or post on FB or Twitter to get Delta’s attention but I tried those and never got a response back. So both times, I called the Delta Refund line and was successful. I had to hold awhile, you can’t request a callback when calling that line but once I was connected, it’s quick and easy.
 

Neil Maley

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Neil Maley....one more thing. Many of the stories on this Elliott Advocacy page go into great detail about the need to create a paper trail when dealing with an airline for a refund request, assuming I'm able to get to that point. Do you think that refund request page you kindly highlighted do that?
It is far too early to even start this. Unless your flight has a significant change made to it, as Rosebuds did- there is nothing to create.

This is the paper trail we speak about. I really would advise you to relax about this right now- it is simply to early to do anything.

 
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justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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Unless a lot more places shut down again, the economics of flying a flight isn't as cut and dry as I think you're thinking. For one almost all airlines have government and corporate contracts for flying cargo - which means there's a number of flights their going to fly regardless. Then you have the refund vs voucher options and the voucher options are more positive to an airline that lean them towards flying flights.

It's not as simple as you'd think, and given how complex my work has been trying to model out options and how my company should react - the airlines that have revenue that are many multiples of the company I'm working for undoubtedly have a ton of analysts crunching numbers to know when flying the flight and giving vouchers is the preferable option. Afterall, some of those vouchers will expire before they're used.
 
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May 30, 2019
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I read through all the posts on this thread.

As a Delta (DL) Silver and someone who cancelled several flights with the airline this year, it appears to me that the OP should do this today: Check to see if the originally booked flight has materially changed. If the departure or the arrival time for either the outbound or the return flight have change by more than 90 minutes, then the OP has per DL's policy the grounds to request a full refund of the entire itinerary.

The first attempt should be done by phone. Some details:
- Be prepared to wait on hold over an hour. DL's estimated hold time is pretty accurate.
- Using the virtual hold, where the airline calls you back, functions fine.
- When reaching a rep, BE POLITE, when requesting a "refund" due to a cancellation or schedule change. A good call with DL goes something like this, "Thank you for taking my call. I noticed that when I booked my flight, the original departure time was x. It changed to y, which does not fit my travel plans. I understand that because of the change, I am entitled to a refund. Can you process that for me today back to my credit card ending in xxxx?"
- Do not accept a credit. If the rep suggest it, clearly state POLITELY that it is not acceptable. If the rep insists, say something like, "I prefer to take no action now. Please confirm that you have not made any changes to my booking."
- If it gets to that point, only then should you consider going on social media, emails, etc. Then there are other steps to take from there. But, DL is a lot better than other airlines in the generosity of their policies.

If the originally booked flights have not materially changed, keep waiting to see if the flight cancels or changes materially.

If the OP wants to post or message me with the flight numbers and original departure times, I'd be glad to help do some research.

DL is not a BK risk as much as other airlines. The airline is much more conscientious of it's reputation, and is not nearly as aggressive as other airlines (i.e. United, Spirit) in pushing vouchers.

All MHO.
 
May 21, 2020
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I'm thinking that major carriers like Delta will have to deal with staggering fleet and staff reductions after Sept. 30 when the U.S. bailout money program ends and they have to slash service and people.
With hundreds (or more) pilots from the legacy airlines who took the paid leave of 3 or 6 months in the spring, scheduled to return to work late summer and fall, I think the airlines are planning all along to expand their schedules and routes, not cancel them. I do think the advice to wait it out is sound. You should watch for a schedule change that would open the door to a refund request.
 
May 30, 2019
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I called Delta the other day and there was no ability to leave a call back number and the recording told me the call volume was too high and to call back at another time. The OP may have to try calling at odd hours late at night or very early in the morning.
I don't know which day you called, however I recently learned that Saturdays and Mondays are typically the worst for reaching Delta. This is because schedule changes are usually made in Saturdays, so some people call that day while others wait until the next business day.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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I think you're missing my point. I don't want to cancel myself and get a two-year certificate/credit. If that was my intent, I would have done it months ago. I'm hoping Delta cancels my flight(s) making me eligible for a cash refund. And my thread is about Delta. I'm glad you had a positive experience with United, but it would be most helpful to get input from others who are dealing with or have dealt with Delta.
Sorry to offend; I've not missed your point. My story was an example offered for basic education purposes. Some times knowing how things work makes an unexpected problem a little easier to solve.
 
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Jul 5, 2020
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I would hang tight. We had a flights to Europe on Iberia and they had sent us an email asking if to tell them if we were still planning on travelling, wanted a credit voucher, or wanted to re-schedule. They gave us until Friday to decide. On Monday we got an email that our return flight had been cancelled, which allowed us to get a refund. October is months away. I would wait. The most you will lose is the change fee, but you may end up with a refund.
 
May 7, 2020
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Skippy, I've seen your message. You were right about Delta's changes, but my itinerary still shows the original flights. What a mess. Messaged you back so it wouldn't take up space here on the main thread.
 
May 30, 2019
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I helped @travellono research his flights.

His itinerary was booked as:
Sunday Oct 11 DL 178 Depart Portland OR 1:26pm arrive Amsterdam 8:30AM Monday Oct 12
Monday Oct 12. DL 9356 (KLM). Depart Amsterdam 1pm arrive Bristol 1:15pm

Tuesday Oct 27. KLM 1046 Depart Bristol 6:15AM arrive Amsterdam 8:45am
Tuesday Oct 27 Delta 179 Depart Amsterdam 9:50am arrive Portland OR 12:39pm

On DL's site, it appears that all the flights are still scheduled. However, I checked KLM's site, then validated on google flights & kayak. On the outbound, KLM no longer has a mid-day flight. If the OP were to book now, his options would include a 1 hr, 5 min layover in AMS then going on KL 1049 to arrive BRS @ 9:55 am or an 8-hour layover in AMS to KL 8200 to arrive BRS @ 4:55 pm, or some 2-stop options with similar arrival times. Getting rebooked for a flight arriving 3 hours later would qualify as a substantial change. (And if he gets rebooked to the earlier connection, he could argue that arriving into the EU from the US then having only an hour to xfer is not a legal connection.)

Based on my experience with DL, here's what I think is happening ...
  • Either DL knows the connecting flight was moved but hasn't processed the impacts of the change, or KLM's systems have not yet updated DL's systems.
  • If DL received the update from KLM, DL is waiting to inform the OP, not out of malice but because their system updates for flight cancellations & changes are not quick or automatic. They tend to happen on Saturdays for flights that are weeks away.
  • When the change is made, the OP will be given an option to change the change.
The OP booked directly with DL. Here is what I think he should do:
  1. Call, be willing to be put on hold, etc. When he gets through, politely ask for a refund. If the agent does not agree, politely remind the rep that he did not accept any itinerary changes, request that no changes be made at this time, and politely end the call.

  2. If #1 doesn't succeed, then try the Facebook message option to DL requesting a refund for a "substantial change in the itinerary.

  3. If #2 doesn't succeed, wait a few more weeks & see if more substantial flight changes come along.
He could also wait a couple more weeks, however I think he wouldn't "jump the gun" because he might "have enough ammo". @Neil Maley, your thoughts?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,042
23,001
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
I helped @travellono research his flights.

His itinerary was booked as:
Sunday Oct 11 DL 178 Depart Portland OR 1:26pm arrive Amsterdam 8:30AM Monday Oct 12
Monday Oct 12. DL 9356 (KLM). Depart Amsterdam 1pm arrive Bristol 1:15pm

Tuesday Oct 27. KLM 1046 Depart Bristol 6:15AM arrive Amsterdam 8:45am
Tuesday Oct 27 Delta 179 Depart Amsterdam 9:50am arrive Portland OR 12:39pm

On DL's site, it appears that all the flights are still scheduled. However, I checked KLM's site, then validated on google flights & kayak. On the outbound, KLM no longer has a mid-day flight. If the OP were to book now, his options would include a 1 hr, 5 min layover in AMS then going on KL 1049 to arrive BRS @ 9:55 am or an 8-hour layover in AMS to KL 8200 to arrive BRS @ 4:55 pm, or some 2-stop options with similar arrival times. Getting rebooked for a flight arriving 3 hours later would qualify as a substantial change. (And if he gets rebooked to the earlier connection, he could argue that arriving into the EU from the US then having only an hour to xfer is not a legal connection.)

Based on my experience with DL, here's what I think is happening ...
  • Either DL knows the connecting flight was moved but hasn't processed the impacts of the change, or KLM's systems have not yet updated DL's systems.
  • If DL received the update from KLM, DL is waiting to inform the OP, not out of malice but because their system updates for flight cancellations & changes are not quick or automatic. They tend to happen on Saturdays for flights that are weeks away.
  • When the change is made, the OP will be given an option to change the change.
The OP booked directly with DL. Here is what I think he should do:
  1. Call, be willing to be put on hold, etc. When he gets through, politely ask for a refund. If the agent does not agree, politely remind the rep that he did not accept any itinerary changes, request that no changes be made at this time, and politely end the call.

  2. If #1 doesn't succeed, then try the Facebook message option to DL requesting a refund for a "substantial change in the itinerary.

  3. If #2 doesn't succeed, wait a few more weeks & see if more substantial flight changes come along.
He could also wait a couple more weeks, however I think he wouldn't "jump the gun" because he might "have enough ammo". @Neil Maley, your thoughts?
I agree with your suggestions.
 
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