Keep trying if you haven't gotten a refund for a canceled flight

Each Friday, we feature a reader-inspired tip as our Travel Tip of the Day. This week’s reader tip comes from Michael G., who says:

“Suggestion. If any of your readers have been turned down by an international airline they should re-try. COPA twice refused to grant refunds on four tickets on a trip that had been scheduled for the weekend of March 21 from MIA to PTY even though doctor’s notes had been forwarded, etc. Tried again this week direct to the customer care department and received the below email from them last night.

Dear Mr. ___________,

Kind greetings from Copa Airlines.

Thank you for contacting Copa Airlines. We verified your ticket information and confirm that you purchased a non refundable fare; however, the refund has been authorized under the DOT regulations. We have forwarded your request to our refund team. Please be aware that due to the high demand on requests, the processing time may take up to 45 days to be completed.

We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Miguel Angel Cárdenas Olmedo
Customer Service Representative
ConnectMiles Service Center|Copa Airlines

If you’re looking for a refund from an airline and having no luck, don’t give up. Keep calling and try to speak to a different agent or to a supervisor. Always be kind, of course, even if the first agent doesn’t do what you want or what they should be doing, and remember that it won’t always work. But if your flight was canceled for reasons related to COVID-19, you’re entitled to a refund per DOT rules. Trying again has worked before.

My own situation with Air Canada

I’m currently dealing with Air Canada, which canceled my flight from Toronto to New York City (LGA) in a few weeks and is refusing to refund my money. I’m even thinking of taking legal action because according to DOT rules:

“U.S. and foreign airlines remain obligated to provide a prompt refund to passengers for flights to, within, or from the United States when the carrier cancels the passenger’s scheduled flight or makes a significant schedule change and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier. The obligation of airlines to provide refunds, including the ticket price and any optional fee charged for services a passenger is unable to use, does not cease when the flight disruptions are outside of the carrier’s control (e.g., a result of government restrictions).”

Yet the email I got from Air Canada included the following language:

“We regret to inform you that AC8292 from Toronto, Lester B. Pearson Intl (YYZ) to New York, Laguardia (LGA) on May 20, 2020 has been cancelled due to the impacts of COVID-19, government travel advisories and/or health and safety concerns…If you do not need to rebook immediately, you can keep the remaining value of your ticket for future travel. This is valid for travel to be completed within 24 months of your flight cancellation date. If you purchased a non-refundable fare, please note that you are not eligible for a refund.”

I’m not giving up because I know the DOT rules apply to my flight, despite what I’ve been told so far. I’ll be sharing updates as I have them.

More help getting a refund for a canceled flight


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7 Comments On "An Important Reminder for Anyone Seeking a Refund for a Canceled Flight"
  1. David E Hartzell|

    I have exactly same situation, AC cancelled from TPA to LIS and return but has told me same thing they told you. I have filed complaint with DOT but so far no response. If you sue AC and it is a class action please keep my name and e mail on file so I can join in.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Will do!

  2. Dougie|

    Instead of taking the substantial time to fight for a full refund, you can opt for a Copa travel voucher good for all Copa destinations through 12-31-2021. Copa now adds 20 percent to the original ticket value. Presumably that is 20% of the original fare excluding all taxes. Definitely consider if you know you would use it. Taking a chance that Copa does not go bankrupt though.

  3. Dougie|

    oops, that is taking a chance that Copa does go bankrupt before the voucher is used! :(

  4. Ray|

    Good luck in your ” fight ” with Air Canada Johnny. Airlines such as these ( a national carrier too ) should be named and shamed, it’s outrageous that they are withholding your money.

  5. Daniel Perez|

    COPA refuses to issue a refund, tried over the phone, they send me to their web page that is not working, call back again, they gave an email address, email address response was to go back to the non working web page, call back again got another company email, no response over a month waiting for my refund, They are playing with people, they have an agenda not to issue refunds.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Call your credit card company and ask for a chargeback

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