United has ended a short-lived and unpopular policy that
delayed the disbursement of refunds for canceled international flights until
at least 12 months from the time of purchase.
United now aligns international refund policy with its domestic
policy implemented in mid-March. Customers throughout the United network whose
travel is disrupted by more than six hours because of cancellations or schedule
changes can now receive a refund.
As they’ve canceled unprecedented numbers of flights due to
the Covid-19 crisis, airlines in the U.S. have come under scrutiny in the past
month for attempting to work around federal regulations that require them to pay
out refunds. On Friday, the Transportation Department issued an enforcement
notice, telling carriers that they remain obligated to pay out refunds for
flights that they have canceled.
United previously offered refunds on all travel disrupted by
more than two hours, but the airline has experimented with various stricter
policies since the second week of March in an effort to conserve cash during the Covid-19 crisis.
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