It’s clear that COVID-19 is having a major effect on the travel industry. I flew at the end of February from Qatar to Singapore on an A350-1000 with just 60 people on board.
Flights are empty, bookings are going down and people want to cancel.
Some airlines are introducing more flexible policies that allow people to change new bookings, for free, and without penalty.
Others like KLM and Qatar Airways, are going further and allowing people with existing bookings to change, or to cancel in the form of a travel credit. This is to be commended and gives their customers added flexibility at a time of extreme uncertainty.
United however is going the opposite way. Below is their new policy in full:
Until yesterday, if there was a schedule change of two hours or more, then you could request a full refund.
This now changes their policy significantly. There has to be a schedule change of 25 hours or more, before you can request your money back.
This is pretty outrageous, and may well fly (pun intended) under US law, but I would certainly suspect that under UK or EU law, that this may very well be unlawful.
At the very least, if I were denied a refund for United changing my flight by an entire day, I would be straight on the phone to American Express (or other credit card issued) requesting a charge back.
This is the very time where airlines should be doing all they can to keep customers on-side. This move by United will not only screw people with massive schedule changes, but add a f**k you on top by denying a refund for the inconvenience.