BAY VILLAGE, Ohio (WOIO) - The financial trouble the airlines face continues to cause confusion for those trying to cancel upcoming travel.
19 News investigators sorted through one local couple’s case to make sure they got a fair resolution.
Until we got involved, they thought they were going to pay hundreds to get a partial refund.
Julie Lavelle and her husband Dave planned a trip to Germany in September.
“We’d saved up and we were treating ourselves,” she said. “We thought we’re going to do first class.I’m going to be 50 this year.”
The pandemic, of course, ruined their plans.
“Oktoberfest was cancelled I think three weeks ago, so we started the process of trying to get a refund,” Lavelle said.
She’d booked through Borisa Hansa, a local travel agent.
He told us over the phone today about the nightmare he’s had cancelling customers’ flights the last few weeks.
“It’s all about the money, it’s all about the money,” he said.
He says many airlines began issuing refunds to travelers at the beginning of the pandemic. However, he says Untied Airline’s refund policies seem to constantly change.
“They’re using like a shuffle game. They keep changing the bar on us,” Lavelle said.
Last week Hansa told Lavelle she would have to pay a $600 fee per ticket to get a refund for her flights.
“It’s a lot of money to be floating out there especially during these trying times,” Lavelle said.
That’s why she contacted 19 News investigators.
We read the refund policies on United’s website. There’s no clear answer on what people can get refunds for.
You’re just supposed to fill out a form and wait up to 21 days for a decision on whether you qualify to get money back.
“I understand that the airline agency has just been walloped, but they need to understand that people who have lost their jobs need that money back,” Lavelle said.
19 News reached out to the company and a spokesperson gave us a straightforward answer.
She says Lavelle and people in similar situations actually can get their money back, without paying a fee.
In an email Leigh Schramm with United said, "All change fees are waived for tickets issued on or before March 2, 2020 for original travel dates between June 1-December 31, 2020 as long as the changes are made before May 31, 2020."
Now, Lavelle just has to get an agent to process that for her.
“You want to be civil, but it’s tough,” she said.