United Airlines cancellations and re ticketing

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Apr 14, 2020
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Booked UA tix for April 23, 2020 from SFO to Savannah GA - $1,042.80 total for my wife and I. ($300 total was in compensatory credits for a previous flight debacle, so net out of pocket $742.80. FYI, we are seniors in our 70s.
I probably made a mistake by cancelling this reservation already, but I had to cancel hotels and car rental, so I was super efficient and did it all. Then told that my ticket would be good for one year from date of booking which was Jan, 10, 2020. That's a bummer that it's not from the date of the cancelled flight, but so it goes.
Then I read your piece that stated the airlines must refund cash if the flight is cancelled. So, a.) can I still claim a refund if the flight is cancelled, even though I already cancelled the reservation? or b.) because of this pandemic what are my chances of extending the valid period of the ticket?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,093
23,045
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
If you canceled before the airline canceled, they do not have to refund you. A refund is required only when the airlines cancels the flight. The airline can also charge a cancellation fee if you canceled before they issued waivers for flights.

However United has changed their policy that credits can be used up to 2 years from the date issued. Contact them to make sure it applies to yours:

To give you more flexibility when you travel, electronic certificates are now valid for 24 months from the date they were issued. This includes all currently valid electronic certificates and all new ones issued on or after April 1, 2020.

This policy change will automatically appear, but it may not be reflected everywhere right away. We’d appreciate your patience as we work to make that happen.


I wish people didn’t panic and start canceling early. We’ve advised every client to hold off on canceling anything until the last minute they can cancel.
 
Apr 14, 2020
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Thanks Neil. When is the usually accepted "last minute" that we can cancel a United international flight, as I have that one coming up also?
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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3,507
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I would cancel the ticket (if the airline hasn't cancelled the flight already) when you receive the online check-in email which is 24 hours before departure. Make sure to set an alarm so you remember to cancel otherwise you will forfeit the value of the tickets.
 
May 6, 2016
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We waited until the day before the flight, and then United cancelled for us. I went to the website and asked to be refunded. They refunded the seat fees, and then sent an email saying "You have successfully cancelled your flight" and are now offering vouchers. This was just a couple of days ago, so I haven't started the campaign to get a refund, but will soon.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,093
23,045
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
We waited until the day before the flight, and then United cancelled for us. I went to the website and asked to be refunded. They refunded the seat fees, and then sent an email saying "You have successfully cancelled your flight" and are now offering vouchers. This was just a couple of days ago, so I haven't started the campaign to get a refund, but will soon.
Just go back to them and say “per DOT rules you must provide a refund when you cancel a flight so please process a refund in lieu of a credit.”