Culture

Travel Troubleshooter: I canceled my airline tickets months ago, so where’s my money?


Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter ...

DEAR TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER: Last year, I bought two round-trip flights from Amman to Tel Aviv through Booking.com. The tickets on Royal Jordanian Airlines were refundable. In November, I called to cancel my tickets and spoke with a Booking.com representative, who said I would get my money back — minus a cancellation fee of about $16 — in about two weeks.

Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter 

Two weeks later, there was no sign of the money. I called Royal Jordanian Airlines, and they referred me back to Booking.com. I called back and reached out to someone on the “advanced” support team. A representative promised to call me back within 72 hours, but I never heard from anyone.

I called a month later and spoke with another representative who gave me a different reference number to contact their customer service by phone. But it failed to get me access to Booking.com. Without the correct number, you can’t even gain access to an agent or an operator.

The Booking.com website showed my tickets as “canceled” with a refund due of $16. But I paid $589 for them. After 11 weeks of contacting both Royal Jordanian Airlines and Booking.com, I’m still no closer to receiving a refund. Can you help me get my money back?

— John Bernath, Lake Worth, Florida

ANSWER: You should have had your refund months ago. So, what’s going on?

My first clue was the refund status from Booking.com. It suggested that you were only due a $16 refund — what appears to be a cancellation fee — on your ticket. I thought you had misread the terms of your ticket and that it was nonrefundable.

But then you showed me the ticket, and indeed, it was refundable.

I’ve seen this before. I call it “the crisis refund problem.” When there’s a big incident that triggers a wave of cancellations — 9/11, a pandemic or an armed conflict — an airline will get overwhelmed with cancellation and refund requests. These delays can be extended for months or even years. Your delays appear to have been caused by the conflict in the Middle East.

Is there a way to expedite a refund? Yes. You can reach out to the executive contacts at Royal Jordanian Airlines or Booking.com. (I publish both on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org.) The Jordanian Civil Aviation Authority has consumer protection provisions that are similar to Europe’s, but I could find no requirement stating that the airline needs to issue a refund within a certain amount of time. In other words, it’s up to you to keep the pressure on the airline and its travel agent, Booking.com.Related Articles

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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