Plaintiffs Say United Should Face Covid Refund Policy Class Action Lawsuit

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Plaintiffs Say United Should Face Covid Refund Policy Class Action Lawsuit

Canceled flights have been a hot topic during the Covid-19 pandemic. As travel restrictions went into place, and travel demand disappeared, airlines canceled thousands of flights. But when it came to refunding passengers, the response from airlines varies widely. Some did issue refunds as required, while others only issued credits and vouchers, or even worse, refused refunds altogether.

United Airlines is one of the companies that has been sued over refunds. Plaintiffs say United Airlines can’t use the refund policy in its purchase contracts to avoid a class action lawsuit demanding refunds for flights canceled by the coronavirus pandemic. Lead plaintiffs Jacob Rudolph, Mark Hansen and Jason Buffer say United canceled their flights and claim United is trying to get out of paying refunds for flights canceled between March and May 2020.

United recently filed a motion to dismiss their complaint. According to the plaintiffs, United is attempting to improperly use a force majeure term in their flight ticket contract to get out of paying for its cancellations. These clauses are commonly used in contracts to protect parties from unexpected events.

“United’s statements confirm it cancelled the majority of its flights for one simple reason: reduced passenger demand made it uneconomical to operate its regular schedule, which would have required United to operate undersold flights. Because United cancelled Plaintiffs’ flights due to economic considerations — not a force majeure event — United plainly breached its obligation under the Contract to refund Plaintiffs and the Class,” the plaintiffs’ opposition motion states as reported by TopClassActions.

Prior to June 2020, United’s refund policy allowed the airline to provide travel credits to passengers whose flights were canceled due to force majeure events. But, passengers whose flights were canceled due to a “scheduling change” or “irregular operation” were entitled to request refunds. That is also consistent with Department of Transportation clarifications.

Based in NYC. Points/miles enthusiast for years and actively writing about it for the last 6+ years at Danny the Deal Guru. I'm always looking out for deals. Making a few bucks is always nice, but the traveling is by far the best part of this business.

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  1. When do these “flight credits” expire? What, if any, restrictions are placed upon the “flight voucher”? If United is forcing you to travel at a time that does not work for you then there might be a problem. If they place restrictions on WHEN and where you can use these “flight vouchers” then there may be a problem. Normally, my default position for a refund is if I paid for a flight in cash AND the flight is cancelled because of no fault of my own then a refund of 100% of the purchase price is appropriate.

    • I agree 100%, Wayne. United is holding over $3,500 of money I paid them and put an expiration date on the voucher. I would gladly join a class action lawsuit.

  2. Selfish people and ambulance chasers. If they win it could drive airlines out of business. How about showing a little flexibility and consideration under the circumstances. Everything really doesn’t have to be all about you.

    • Spare me Snowflake. United is filling every seat, including the middle ones. Other carriers are blocking middle seats. They are the greedy ones. Put your money where your unfounded logic is and reimburse me $3500.00 but we know your position already.

    • @AAflyer I once had an interaction with a merchant who made an error in the application of a discount and charged me 5$ more for an item. He said: “It’s only a five dollar difference!” “I agree, it’s only 5 bucks so thanks for correcting it and absorbing the 5 dollars.”
      Everything is blamed on COVID these days, that is not a reason not to do what’s right instead of what’s expedient, easy or better for the bottom line. I mean why not just give nothing and let everyone sue for a refund or voucher? Nope, you cancel it – you give back the money. Simple as that. Or if you personally want to step in and fund the refunds for anyone sending you the details that’s fine as well.
      Just my 5 bucks… I mean 5 cents….


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