Reminder: If your flight is cancelled, you're entitled to a refund

Airlines aren't making this specifically clear, despite the government clarifying the law.

As the coronavirus pandemic starts to extend its grasp into the summer season, more and more people's travel plans are being thrown into disarray.

Air travel numbers are at a fraction of what they were amid border shutdowns and dwindling demand for travel while COVID-19 remains widespread.

With airlines having slashed routes and scheduled flights hugely over the past month, there's a good chance that if you've booked a flight that is due to depart in the next few months, it will get cancelled.

When that happened, all passengers – no matter whether if they have a basic economy or First Class ticket – are entitled to a full refund, no matter the reason for the cancellation.

The problem is this not all airlines make this explicitly clear when they inform customers of their cancelation, in the hope that passengers instead opt to re-book their flight or accept credit with the airline in lieu of a refund.

Check out this email this writer received from Air France recently, which is clearer than some other airlines have sent out, which says we can "modify or cancel" our trip, but still makes no specific mention of "refund."

Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 8.25.53 AM

The federal government had to re-iterate earlier this year that canceled flights result in full refunds, as airlines tried to slip on by the rule by offering credit or re-bookings.

And some are still trying to wriggle out of it, in particular United which has seemingly sought to change the definition of "cancelled" in an apparent effort to avoid refunds, per One Mile At A Time.

Speaking of One Mile At A Time, check out its guide on what your rights are when your flight is cancelled – it suggests disputing the charge with your credit card provider or making a complaint to the federal Department of Transportation in the event an airline refuses a refund for a cancelled flight.

It should be noted though that if your flight is still going ahead but you don't want to fly due to COVID-19, this will not get you a refund. However, many airlines are waiving change fees or offering customer credit in these situations.

Next Up