United Told Me I Cancelled My Flight

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Apr 25, 2020
My wife and I scheduled a trip on United departiing Washington on May 3, arriving Barcelona and returning May 27 from Rome.

On March 30, an email from United confirmed our entire roundtrip itinerary. But, on April 12 another email from United announced that in response to my request, they had cancelled our flights. I never cancelled these flights. In fact, although we had decided not to take the trip, we were waiting for United to cancel the flights to preserve our refund rights.

Through the United website, I requested a full refund, explaining that the airline cancelled these flights, not me. I just received a form email denying this request. I was given the usual options of rebooking on another United flight now or taking a flight credit credit for a future flight. My preferred option is a credit back to my credit card of the full amount paid and a return of the frequent flyer miles used to upgrade our seating.

According to FlightAware our outbound flight, United 120 from Newark (EWR) to Barcelona (BCN), normally 7 days a week, hasn't flown since March 14 and has been off the schedule for over 30 days. United never notified me of these changes and there are no other similar flights available on the United schedule. This appears to be a particularly underhanded technique by the airline to avoid their responsibility to refund fares. (I suppose there is an small chance that this flight, United 120, might be reinstated by next Sunday, May 3, in time that I could have flown had United not cancelled my itinerary. However its flight history since March 14 isn't promising.)

I contacted the Elliott Advocacy team and they suggested my next step is to escalate this within United Airlines (consumer affairs?) and to the Department of Transportation. My credit card company (ironically, affiliated with United Airlines) suggested waiting until all other avenues had been attempted before requesting a chargeback. I recognize there are many with similar problems; I am posting this to hopefully learn from the experiences of others what paths might work best.


Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
The DOT and writing using our company contacts are exactly what you should do.

Here is how to write using our contacts:


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
I don't think United is being devious. I think they made a mistake. Your PNR is probably coded incorrectly, and low-level agents don't go beyond that information. Compose a concise, polite email to Customer Service stating the facts and asking for a refund. If you've not received a response in two weeks, escalate using our Company Contacts. Someone at United will have to investigate your record and approve the refund, so your job is to make that person want to help you.
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