My son broke his leg a few days before a family trip and we needed to cancel our flight on United Airlines. I called 3x and got 3 different answers (BTW, each call took over an hour):
they give you back cash minus $50 service fee
they give you credit minus $50 service fee
they give you credit minus $150 service fee (same as for non-medical reasons).
Another leg of our flight was on Southwest who had no problem giving us a refund.
I just called to book another flight using our credits. They said it takes several weeks to process the medical request to determine if I get the $150 change fee refunded. Furthermore, I can only book using those credits over the phone. I tried to book a different flight that I had found on United.com and she said that she is unable to book that flight. I wanted to go from SFO to LAX and there are over 10 flights each day - she could book less than half for me, and I know there were plenty of seats available when I looked online. In fact there are very few flights she can book for me and those that she can cost twice as much as online.
I know in the past when I or other family members have had to do this, the airlines were a lot more lenient, i.e. you would get flight credit that you could actually use in a reasonable manner. Anyone have any advice?