The Verdict: Hey United, I Want My $158+ Back

Oslo Map

After quite a few e-mails, posts and a physical letter being sent, my dispute with United has finally come to an end.

Back in January we were on our first trip of the new year in Oslo, Norway. Despite the chilly weather, we had a great time and really enjoyed our visit. Our one complaint was not having enough time to check out more of the country.

Due to an approaching winter storm back at home our flight was cancelled. Rather than head to the airport, I called United through Skype. We got re-ticketed for the following morning without a problem. When I asked who was responsible for our accommodations, I was told (quite rudely) that we were . I got off the phone and quickly booked a hotel and then Kim and I set out some plans for the day. Why not enjoy our extra day in Oslo!

After writing a post about being stuck in Oslo, I had a few comments related to compensation. I assumed that what United told me was correct and that we were responsible. However, my friend Rene of Delta Points commented May want to see about getting some funds back and included a link to a site related to EU Passenger Rights. After looking it over, I thought that the EU, like the US did not make airlines compensate passengers due to weather related cancellations.

To make a long story short, the following morning at the airport we randomly spoke to two different passengers on our flight. They too were stuck in Oslo due to the storm. However both were at the airport and received compensation in the form of meals and a hotel for the night.

While waiting to board, one of the passengers I spoke with pointed out the United supervisor that helped him out the previous day. I went over to him for a chat and explained the situation. He then told me that we should’ve been compensated due to EU261 Policy. He told me where to put in my claim and that it shouldn’t be a problem getting reimbursed.

After submitting my form I was shocked that a response would take anywhere from 14-21 days. I debated whether or not I should contact United sooner but then decided to wait it out.

After over a month of waiting, I finally got a response from UnitedThe representative asked me to send in original receipts to consider any reimbursements. There was one problem, I didn’t have them!

Our hotel was booked online so I could provide a copy of the booking and I had no clue what I did with restaurant/ food receipts. I wasn’t even sure that we got receipts from many of the places.

I e-mailed United again with my problem and offered to send in credit card statements and the copy of our online hotel booking.

I got a response a couple of weeks later stating that due to auditing, original receipts were necessary for a cash reimbursement. However, I was offered an electronic travel certificate to help offset some of the expenses.

Again, I sent in an e-mail explaining how the hotel was booked and asked again for a cash refund.

I received no response and decided to just send in all of the info that I put together including a detailed letter explaining all of the expenses.

Here are the expenses we were claiming:

  • Hotel- $159.22
  • Meals- $136.27 

Less than a week later I received a response from United thanking me for sending in all of the requested information along with the final outcome.

Here it is:

I received a $300 Electronic Travel Certificate from United which expires in one year.

After having to wait for an excessive amount of time at the beginning, United acted and resolved the situation in what I am guessing is the best way they could.

Did I get exactly what I wanted? No, but I do believe that in the end United handled the situation (overall) in a professional manner.

The big issue that I have, is not being told from the beginning what our rights were. Since our flight was departing from the EU (or Iceland, Norway, Switzerland), United was supposed to let its passengers know what compensation was provided due to EU261.

Had I been informed of our rights, I would have saved myself a lot of headache and still had $300 in my pocket opposed to a $300 United credit which expires in a year.

In the end a $300 United credit is not too shabby and definitely better than nothing!

What do you think about the outcome of this situation? Is a United credit fair compensation or should we have been reimbursed in cash for our expenses?

7 thoughts on “The Verdict: Hey United, I Want My $158+ Back

  1. It would indeed have been nice if UA had given you all the info at the time of delay….

    But for the rest I feel they have been more than fair. You could have known that any major company or even travel insurance requires original receipts when claiming reimbursement. So getting travel credit instead of cash is largely your own doing.

  2. EU rules are for cash reimbursement … UA thanks you for allowing them to screw you out of what you are owed. Travel vouchers have a huge percentage breakage, and provides add on revenue to UA, you are still behind.

  3. Gerard- Right, had UA told me my rights and not said that I was responsible then this whole situation could’ve been avoided. You can look at it either way and place blame on me but in the end we went about our added day looking to enjoy it and not worry about refunds. We didn’t expect anything back until randomly speaking to the other couple of passengers and then the supervisor.

    GA- Agreed. In the end UA lied to us initially which caused this headache. I think a more fair resolution would’ve been cash back for the hotel, credit for the food. Either way I am glad they didn’t say without receipts that I get nothing at all!

  4. I seriously doubt they lied to you. It was most likely someone who just didn’t know the rules. I think they should have given you cash for the hotel. ..credit for the food. Possibly even cash based on some sort of allowance for the food and maybe credit for any difference. They were clearly wrong for not handling it correctly in the first place.

    1. Chip- Thanks for the comment. Lied was probably not the best word to use to describe what happened. The United rep was matter of fact about the rules which apply in the U.S. so I think you are right- she just didn’t know what applied to flights originating in Europe.

  5. Congrats! I think you came out way ahead. United wouldn’t have given you $140 cash for 1 night’s meal. You probably would have gotten a $12 airport food voucher each. You probably also stayed in a nicer hotel than UA would have given you.

    1. Thanks Kurt. I believe that the people I spoke with were put up at a Club Carlson airport property. I’m also pretty sure that one of them got around $75 for meals/ snacks. Keep in mind that this claim was (the total) I got back for the 3 of us.

      I don’t see it as coming out ahead really. Even though we have a $300 voucher, it expires in a little under a year & I’d much rather have the $$$ back. However, it’s definitely better than nothing!

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