REFUND Us: Avianca Cancels Flight, Says We Can Rebook Til 3/21

Avianca
image: Aero Shots

The Michael W Travels family was supposed to travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos over Spring Break in April.

Once the coronavirus started spreading, we knew it was highly unlikely that our trip would take place.

I tried filling out an online refund form with Avianca to cancel our flight from Guayaquil to the Galapagos but it would not work.

The following day, I checked online and saw that our flight was already canceled. At first, I didn’t have any e-mail from the airline regarding the cancellation but I did get one later that night.

While most would expect a refund for a canceled flight, Avianca stated “Your ticket will remain valid until you have a new travel date or decide to make the change.”

The problem is that visiting the Galapagos isn’t so simple. Who knows when the coronavirus pandemic will get under control. There’s no guarantee that we’ll find a deal on a flight back to Ecuador from the US. Due to seasickness, I wouldn’t want to visit the Galapagos during any other time of year as the water could be rougher.

I can’t find a clear date as to when Avianca said we’d have to reschedule our flight by, but I’m pretty sure that it was by March 30, 2021. That would be before next year’s spring break, not much help.

I’ve tried calling Avianca to request a refund but the line is always busy. Next we’ll call the credit card company and explain the situation. (The charge hasn’t posted to the newest statement.)

Hopefully, we’ll get a refund. The right to rebook isn’t so useful for a flight we probably won’t be able to take. I also don’t understand how Avianca can keep our money for a flight they canceled on us.

Due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, I feel that a refund should be given.

What do you think?

28 thoughts on “REFUND Us: Avianca Cancels Flight, Says We Can Rebook Til 3/21

  1. Yes, definitely I also agree the refund should be given. I’m in a similar situation except I used Avianca LifeMiles for a trip to Vienna next month. I used 126,000 Lifemiles for a business class ticket from LAX to Vienna for a business trip.

    Obviously after this COVID outbreak the trip was cancelled. The flight was cancelled but I waited hours and hours on the phone only to have them tell me that I’d have to pay $200 to redeposit my miles!

    They said I could use the ticket within 1 year of the flight but I don’t have any plans to go back to Europe as I was just there before the outbreak started and really don’t have any plans to go back in the next year.

    I sent in emails asking them to redeposit the miles and credit back the taxes they charged to my credit card but they have not. I can see if I canceled the flight but this was a cancellation on their end so this isn’t fair they would charge $200 to redeposit the miles.

    Is there any other recourse?

  2. United now keeps your money for flights they cancel on you. Why not Avianca? I was lucky that our spring break trip was booked with Delta and when they cancelled the flight they were happy to give a refund.

  3. The exact same thing happened to me, but worse. I had a 7 week trip to Egypt and Morocco planned. Tours, flights all canceling or I have to cancel because I can’t get to Africa. And I get a voucher-like I will use a voucher to fly on Royal Air Maroc within a year! I might be able to do these if the period was 2 years, but 1, I need to book award flights in a month. And I’m supposed to be sure my tour goes on a company that promises 100% departures, and yet they cancel and keep my money for a year? No thanks! Stephanie Woods

  4. The schedule isn’t open into April 2021 so I sort of makes sense coupled with Avianca’s overwhelmed customer service centers which are notably average in good times. People preach to us on blogs all the time about buying Lifemiles but when things go wrong you get this sort of issue with that program.

  5. File a complaint with DOT using the on line form. Airlines do respond to these. If they cancelled, you get a refund. Period.

  6. Jimmy- Lucky you!

    Stephanie Woods- That stinks! I’m guessing your trip was already paid for? If not, did you contact the credit card company?

    DaninMCI- Scedule being open or not, Avianca wants us to rebook something they canceled! Just give us our money back! I’ve never preached to buy LifeMiles. I never bought any myself!

    Rjb- Def. a good idea. Thanks!

  7. Just a follow up. They did finally redeposit my miles for NO fee. Which was the correct thing to do. They said they would refund my airport taxes I paid but it hasn’t been done yet but I expect with all of these cancellations it will take time.

    I had another flight on EVA Air from Seattle to Taipei for end of May and the flight was cancelled. I spent 3 hours on hold with ANA where I used miles and they said they would redeposit the miles for no charge and refund the taxes. This was this morning.

    But something ominous was they said that it could take more than 5-7 weeks to hit. I asked him what happens if I wanted to use the miles before then and he said it wasn’t likely there would be flights to Asia. Yikes!

  8. Mike Saint- Thanks for the update. Glad to hear you got your refunds back, fee-free like it should be! That is a long time for the refund. I don’t find it surprising that there might not be flights to Asia for a couple of months with what’s going on…

  9. I have the same situation with an AA flight booked through Avios. If they deny my refund, I’ll just do a chargeback as per BA’s CoC I’m entitled to such.

  10. TC- I’ve had no luck at all! Whenever I call (just tried again), I get past a few prompts. When I select the one for changes to an existing reservation (or something like that), the call hangs up!

  11. Avianca canceled my flight to Peru and I filled out a refund request 40 days ago and still has not received a single thing from them. I have never in my life waited so long for a refund that is deserved as they canceled my flight not me. I have called them 3 times and they just give me the runaround. I am going to call my credit card company and dispute the charges. I am so upset as I lost my job during this pandemic so missing over a grand that I can use for supplies and food. It is very upsetting and I feel depressed about it. I will never purchase from this terrible airline again.

  12. They have to refund you. You can submit a request online with them. It can take up to 30 business days for a refund.

    1. I requested refund online and received a BOGWE-**** number confirmation it has now been 45 days! Last week they said it may take 60 days.

  13. Hannah Otto- Sorry to hear about this. Do you have any update?

    Miguel Rivera- I submitted a refund request and haven’t heard back yet. Guess we’ll see what happens.

  14. TC- I know! Read about it and got the e-mail from the airline. I didn’t really understand how they filed Chapter 11 in the US yet they don’t follow the US laws for giving refunds for flights they canceled.

  15. I have been trying to get a hold of them for weeks, on hold for 2hrs at a time.

    @Michael – I agree, how can they file for Chapter 11 in the US yet not comply with our laws.

    Does anyone know if we can start a Class Action lawsuit while they’re on Chpt.11? I am out over $1K and it is so frustrating not being able to speak to anyone nor receive any status update emails on refund claims yet I continue to receive marketing emails.

  16. AviancaSucks- I only received a response due to a DOT complaint I filed. I like your idea regarding a Class Action lawsuit but would that really amount to anything with them currently filing Chapter 11? I have no clue…

    1. Following along. I just had a chat session with Avianca. The person on the chat said our only option was a travel voucher. I had submitted a refund request on March 13 and still just says received. I’m going to try submitting a request through the DOT and our CC company.

  17. Laura Rose- Thank’s for the update. I don’t believe that a voucher is the only option based on the message I received after my DOT complaint. I also don’t know how Chapter 11 changes things!

  18. We’re in the same boat. Expected to be in the Galapagos right now, but that was a whole different world ago. We paid $3400 to Avianca when we booked in January. Avianca first changed our international flights to something outrageously different, then canceled a couple of segments (making the whole journey impossible) and then canceled the whole thing. After being hung up on repeatedly, I gave up on trying to call their useless call center. The “chat” system was also non-functional, and so I filed an on-line refund request on April 1. Now 43 days later I’m still waiting, and status still shows as “received”.

    I filed a complaint with Visa and was given a provisional refund. Unless Avianca manages to muck it up, it should become finalized on June 30. Thank goodness for credit cards, especially with Chapter 11 now a new issue.

    I’m so glad I didn’t opt for a voucher, which would have been valid only through March of 2021. That would have been money down the drain.

    I think it’s kind of hilarious that in their email notifying me of the final cancellation (which wasn’t sent until April 21), they said this: “If you have any concerns, we invite you to contact us through our chat, it is the best support option since our Call Center presents a high number of calls.” I did try to contact them through their chat and was told by the person who chatted with me that there were no agents available to help, and I should try again in a few hours. What was he, the janitor?

  19. Rachel- Avianca has dealt with this situation horribly IMO. We just submitted documents to the credit card company and I also reach out to the DOT again. It doesn’t seem like you can really get through to Avianca. Your chat situation sounds absurd. If nobody is available for live chats, it usually just says so!

  20. I had booked a flight from LA to GUATEMALA CITY for april 6th, which i cancelled and requested refund for in march when the quarantine went down. Couple weeks later Avianca cancelled the flight, and I was notified that i could get a voucher to rebook the flight to later date. I tried phoning the airline, and explaining that I dont want to rebook, I was just want my refund. They’ve repeatedly hung up on me, or simply said that the refund is in process. It’s been over 2 months already. I just got off the phone with them again, where the rep again hung up on me. Very frustrating! I just submitted a complaint to DOT re Avianca. I wonder what else can be done at this point. Thanks everyone for this space to share this stressful injustice and frustration!

  21. Sara K- I’m glad that this post has been able to help you out in a small way! Avianca has not handled this situation well at all. We tried putting in for a refund request over a month back, it would never go through. It finally worked around 2 weeks back and I’ve heard nothing since. Hopefully this all works out for everyone. I have no interest in a voucher…

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