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Frustrated fliers still waiting on refunds for COVID-canceled flights

Government investigating 30,000 complaints
Airline luggage
Posted at 11:54 AM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 19:55:57-04

CINCINNATI — Still waiting on a refund from an airline for a canceled flight last year?

You're not alone.

The U.S. Department of Transportation says it is investigating 10 domestic airlines' refund policies after receiving more than 30,000 complaints from travelers still waiting for their money back.

Among them are two Cincinnati-area women.

Ashley Edwards and her husband, an active-duty serviceman, had booked an island trip for June 2020. But the pandemic canceled the trip for the couple, originally from Sharonville, and they are still waiting for refunds.

"Finally they said they would give us some of the money back, but they wanted to charge a $400 penalty," their travel agent, Lisa McDaniel, told WCPO.

The Edwardses say they had very little trouble getting refunds for most of their trip, including the resort they had booked, but when it came to the airline, there was $400 they could not get back.

Meanwhile, Kim Ellman says she is waiting for a $200 refund for a Florida flight canceled when a crew member tested positive for COVID-19.

"It was 2:00 in the morning when we were all asleep, we got a text message....flight canceled. No other alternative given."

So they had to pay hundreds for new flights home on a different airline, and months later are still waiting for refunds.

"I tried calling them, I emailed three or four times, no responses," Ellman said.

We have contacted both airlines and asked them to expedite refunds to both women.

Government now getting involved

But there is new hope for them, and thousands of other travelers: the US Transportation Department says it is investigating 10 airlines for not providing timely refunds for cancellations during the pandemic.

Some provided vouchers, but in many cases those expired in a year, before travelers could use them.

The government now says that's not enough if the pandemic was responsible for canceling the trip.

Ashley Edwards and Kim Ellman just want their money back.

If you are still waiting for an airline refund, email the airlines and ask for an update.

If you don't get a satisfactory answer, file a complaint with the DOT as well as the Better Business Bureau, so you don't waste your money.

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8:47 PM, Oct 17, 2018

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