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Refund on United Airlines for medical reasons

Sunnyvale, CA
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Refund on United Airlines for medical reasons

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?

221 replies to this topic
Romford, United...
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41. Re: Refund on United Airlines for medical reasons

Joeintheuk-definately not paranoid, these deals between airlines and insurers are normally arranged as a binding authority for the airline and everytime the coverholder binds a risk they receive a % of the gross premium 25 or 30% is not unheard of(they can sometimes make more profit per passenger for this add on than the actual flight ).

In addition under the binding authority it is normal for the airline to receive an extra annual profit commission from the insurer(normally a percentage of the profit on the contract) so it is in both parties interest to minimise losses

Edited: 01 August 2013, 16:15
East Windsor, New...
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42. Re: Refund on United Airlines for medical reasons

I would like to appeal a decision that was made to refuse re-scheduling of airline tickets to San Jose Costa Rica

Booking thru Cheapoair

Airline confirmation UNITED

What a royal experience I had with UNITED AIRLINES! They should be ashamed of themselves. Treat customers with a problem badly.

I waiting one hour on phone to solve this problem. I had a former experience direct with United and the “mistake” rates are unreasonable. So here is a beauty!

If you note SJC is in California

SJO is in Costa Rica

Don't know how my tickets ended up going to CA instead of requested destination but you can see the problem. Keep in mind, trip is in October 2013 not next week.

Long story short, United refuses to budge on "fine" to change tickets.

Reason for change: mom is 97 and I needed to work around a sitter.

She fell twice and was in hospital getting stitches and the mistake doesn't warrant a $1200 "fine"

I know others have gotten better treatment so I am going to give you the opportunity to explain this horrible situation.

Why did I buy "fine"--I promised my daughter and myself a trip. What can you do to make this better? Off to report to other sites.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
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43. Re: Refund on United Airlines for medical reasons

'Booking thru Cheapoair' That's part of the problem straight away.

Did you book on line or speak to an agent on the phone? Either way, *you* should have ensured you had tickets booked from your city to SJO, San Juan, Costa Rica, rather than SJC, San Juan, California.

If you've bought tickets for UA flights to SJC and those tickets are nonrefundable, then there may be very little UA can do, as the purchase has been confirmed. Essentially you need to buy new tickets, so ask UA if the value of the others can be applied for the tickets to SJO.

What does your travel insurance say about this?

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
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44. Re: Refund on United Airlines for medical reasons

TP, as fyi SJC and SJO both refer to San Jose (San Juan is Puerto Rico).

Agree with TP on the rest of this. You booked through CheapoAir, who would have made the booking with the airline. So either you made the mistake of not checking which San Jose, or Cheapo made the error in booking with United, or United misunderstood what Cheapo told them (which I doubt as cheapo would have booked it electronically using the GDS).

Either way, had you

(a) noticed it immediately, you could have canceled the booking within 24 hours and received a full refund; a 24 hour grace period is required by law in the US.

(b) booked directly with the airline, any error made by the middleman wouldn't exist, and you could have called United directly and canceled within 24 hours of booking, as you would have immediately checked the ticket to make sure everything was correct, wouldn't you?

And, if you need to cancel your trip due to a family medical problem, that's for your travel insurance to cover. You do have travel insurance don't you?

Edited: 10 August 2013, 00:11
Garden Bay, Canada
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for Air Travel, Business Travel
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45. Re: Refund on United Airlines for medical reasons

"Booking thru Cheapoair"

and failure to check the itinerary. Not United's fault. You still have to follow their rules and the conditions under which you purchased the ticket.

So how's booking through a third party working for you?

46. Re: Refund on United Airlines for medical reasons

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Portland, Oregon
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for Air Travel
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47. Re: Refund on United Airlines for medical reasons


Oh dear. This is not United Airlines or CheapoAir, but a public forum. And you have posted way too much personal information about yourself and ypur mother. Please delete your post and others please report it for michael's own good.

To take this up with United, visit their website at www.united.com or www.cheapoair.com

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48. Re: Refund on United Airlines for medical reasons

I purchased air line tickets using my air miles, for medical reasons I had to cancel my flight. What procedure is required to return air miles to my account, and if any charges apply.

Edited: 28 March 2014, 20:55
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49. Re: Refund on United Airlines for medical reasons

I believe that unless you purchased the airmiles insurance, your miles are lost. (if you are talking about the actual Airmiles program).

Portland, Oregon
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50. Re: Refund on United Airlines for medical reasons


Firstly, contact United Reservations and ask them. They will indicate whether there is any cancellation fee and what it is.

Then, if the fee is greater than $50, you *may* be able to get the difference refunded using the cancel for medical reasons. Note that cancellation without penalty for medical reasons is solely at the discretion of United (they must be satisfied that it is medically not possible for you to travel).

" For unplanned events:

There will be a processing fee of $50 if this is a nonrefundable ticket. (Read E-Ticket policy.)

Death: Please provide a death certificate.

If you are sick: Please provide a doctor’s note advising you not to fly.

If you have an immediate family who is sick: Please provide the name, address and telephone number of the hospital where they are admitted and the name of their doctor.

If you have jury duty: Please provide a copy of your jury duty notice."

More information can be found at united.com/web/…refund.aspx and when you select the option for a refund of your E-ticket.

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