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

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?

64 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?

    1. I booked a ticket to Honduras, avianca cancelled my ticket the very next day, now avianca saying that i have to wait from 3 to 6 months, for my refund. What can we do to get our money back

      1. The same thing happened twice to us. Our flight was canceled to Honduras due to no more flights allowed there. Have your problem been resolved? If so, how did you do it ?

      2. Hi Alexis, same thing happened to me and I just wanted to ask if your situation got resolved?

  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.

    1. They have cancelled 4 flights for me. About $2k. I’ve rebooked three times and they cancelled each time. I contacted credit card and filed complaint with DOT. I really hope I get a refund

      1. Did you get response?
        This is the worse airline ever. I spent days calling them and they only hung up. I waiting 4 hours on a phone call for them to tell me to submit the refund on the website. They first said it takes 30 days after 30 days they said 30-90 days cause of covid. Close to 90 days i escalated the case. They said I should get a response in 15 days. I never did. I called back and waited another 2 hours. Apparently the rep never escalated the case. The rep assured he did it then. I got an email just to said they have to response and don’t know how long it will take for them to respond, that was July. I have tried to reply to email and nothing. This is ridiculous! It has been over 200 days waiting on a response. I call and all they do is hang up. All they say is blame it on covid delays.

  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…

  22. I had the same issue with Avianca and can give you two suggestions. 1) you can email their client relation reps: Elizabeth Rivera Salazar and Gustavo Adolfo Cadavid Monsalve They answered my emails and Im waiting for my refund. 2) If that doesn’t work and you live in the US you are entitled to a full refund and can file a complaint with the US Department of Transportation. You can go here:

    1. Hi hope all is well. How long after you requested the refund did you contact the client relation reps?

    2. Hello,
      I’m in the same situation here, I request my refund in May for 4 tickets from Miami to Lima and I’m still waiting. I called to Colombia and chat with them several times and they said they don’t have an estimated time for the refund right now.
      Did you ever got your refund?

      1. I’m waiting for my refund. I got an email response that I will get a refund but they have no idea when. Very frustrating.

  23. Mirna Vasquez- Thanks for that info! I posted an update that Avianca e-mailed me that I’d be refunded.

    Cindy- Initially, I wasn’t able to request the refund. When I tried online, it wouldn’t work and when I would try to call, I’d get disconnected after a few minutes.

    1. Thanks for responding. I have requested the refund but since they filed bankruptcy I am afraid that they will act up even more. Do you recommend I just reach out to the client reps now or give them a few days? I have at least been able to make the request online. Have you received the money from them as of yet?

  24. cindy- After receiving an e-mail from the airline and their lawyer that we would be refunded, we contacted the credit card company. We then had to send files to them and that is the last we’ve heard. (We never actually paid the bill, we were fighting the charge…)

  25. I’m dealing with the same crap! this is what Avianca said over their chat:

    ” I see the status of your request is still received. We kindly ask you to patiently wait until you get contacted by the refunds department since at the moment we do not have an specific date when it will be completed. We do not have further information about the finantial department and I cannot give yuo any contact information from that department since we do not have it and is an internal department. 
    I know it has been so long you have been waiting but over this channell there is nothing I can do. “

  26. IF YOU HAVENT MADE AN OFFICIAL COMPLAINT WITH THE DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION, DO SO NOW! This is only for people leaving from the US, and possibly going to the US? Below is the email they sent me.

    Company: Avianca.
    Passenger: SILOE AREVALO
    CASE NUMBER DOT MF2020070034
    CASE NUMBER AV 200723002266


    We have received your complaint letter sent to the DOT about the inconveniences you have encountered to request the refund of your tickets. It is important to mention that by the time the pandemic affected flight operations as per the airports closure; it was necessary to generate a contingency plan to assist all affected passengers as it was a situation out of control for all of us. The options to take have been updated as the pandemic has advanced in time; however, since the beginning passengers have been given the option to (1) change the itinerary once the flight operation begins (2) accept a travel voucher for the value of the ticket being able to reschedule flights up to December 31, 2021 by filling the online form and (3) request the refund of the tickets on its original form of payment.

    I have found refund request HVCMD-149, that are on a received status in our data base. I have escalated the cases to our refund specialist to be processed as a priority request.

    We appreciate your comprehension.

    KInd regards,

    1. Hi would you please share the email address you used to contact DOT? It is desperately needed as I have been waiting for a refund for a while now. Any help Is appreciated. Thank you in advance

        1. Thank you did much for the info. When I have reached out to them in the past they ask me to be patient and that they are still responding to countless responses. I am trying to be patient but have been reaching out even before my scheduled date to travel – would their response be any different within the 60 days that you mention? How helpful wa the Avianca lawyer to you?

          1. In the last email they stated they would escalate my case and and processed as priority but it’s been a week already and still nothing. The only reason they probably escalated my request was because the DOT forces them to do so because if they have enough complaints they can get fined. I’m waiting on a refund since April so honestly I don’t hold my breath anymore

          2. The comments on this post have been so helpful & truly heaven sent. Avianca cancelled my flight to Aruba in April 2020 & I was told by my credit card company that I was not entitled to a refund. I went through my credit card company after several failed attempts to get my money back directly from Avianca. My credit card company (Capital One) sided with the Avianca because the airline sent over some ridiculous policy document that I had never seen before stating that the airline was not responsible for flight cancellations under any circumstances. It’s almost like the document was newly created in the midst of the pandemic to avoid having to issue refunds for cancelled flights. Super shady, right!
            I was completely at a lost trying to figure out how the airline could legally get away with keeping the funds for a service they canceled and/or could not provide. So I came across this post during my research where someone suggested contacting the Department of Transportation to file a complaint, so that’s what I did. I filed a complaint against Avianca on 11/14/2020 and on 11/27/2020, I received an email from Avianca stating that my refund was authorized.
            I spent nearly 8 months trying to get my money back from Avianca, and after filing one complaint with DOT, my refund was miraculously authorized in just a few weeks after the complaint.
            Do not let Avianca get away with stealing your money! If the airline cancelled your flight, for any reason (travel restrictions, etc.), you ARE entitled to a full refund, and yes, even if your flight was non-refundable.

  27. I am in the same boat as everyone on here and getting the same run around from Avianca. AMEX denied my dispute saying an international arliner can essentially do whatever they want.

    @Michael how did you get an email from their lawyer? Is that something you can share?

    One thing I am trying is, if you look at your “E-Ticket” under “Endorsements” if it says “Refund Fee Applies” that means that you are entitles to a refund but with a fee. At this point even if they charge me a refund fee ill take my money back. Im sending this to AMEX to try that route.

  28. After filing a DOT complaint, I received a reply from an Avianca lawyer. I was also able to reach out to the DOT analyst assigned to my case.

    If you haven’t done so already, you need to file a DOT complaint at

  29. Wow that is crazy – it’s so frustrating bc they should held you some level of standard to refund those funds- what are the consumer supposed to do? Anyone else we can contact? Has anyone else on this post received a refund?

  30. How are they able to do this? Can they even get away with this? They are still actively working so that would mean that regardless of chapter 11 they are still making money. Many have mentioned that they disputed it with their credit card companies – have you received full payment back to the credit Card companies?

  31. Good news! I received this email today!!! If you haven’t filed complaint with the DOT, do so now !!!

    Dear customer:

    We inform you that the request for refund with the number HVCMD149 of the ticket number 1342496260496,1342496260497,1342496260499 has been authorized.

    The value of your refund is USD 1,340.85. We will make the payment to your credit card Discover.

    Keep in mind that banking processes can take up to 30 days for you to see the credit reflected in your account statement. The payment can be reflected as “cash payment”, “timely payment”, or other terms other than Refund or Avianca.

    This email is informative, we thank you for not answering.

  32. That is awesome – how long did it take to get a response from them? How long from the time you filed the DOT complaint did you get this response?

    1. I’ve been fighting them since May, did my DOT complaint in may, received an email a few weeks later. Then received email from avianca that I’ll get a refund someday, no idea when in June when I emailed and received another email from DOT in July that the airlines has 60 days to respond to my complaint. Avianca sent an email that they received my complaint from the DOT October 6, authorized official refund October 15th. Waiting on it to appear on my card atm

      1. Thank you for the update. Did you ever get your refund? I have submitted a DOT complaint and have emailed with both of those contacts with Avianca but still no luck. They just say my refund is pending.

        1. I did not get the refund. They had processed the refund and said there was an error because the credit card did a chargeback so they wouldn’t refund until the company removed it. They gave me the run around until the credit card company could no longer even request a refund. Lost 2k, nothing else I can do. I wish someone would start a civil suit against avianca

  33. Hi, it’s Rachel again.

    I posted a couple of times about my grueling experience trying to get $3400 refunded from Avianca for tickets from LAX to Ecuador for a flight that was canceled by the airline. I purchased the tickets back in February–such an innocent, hopeful time…. After Avianca drastically altered our itinerary (adding stops, changing dates, adding nearly a day of travel time in each direction), I applied for a refund via their website on April 1st (no joke!). They subsequently canceled all flights.

    I disputed the charge on my Costco Citibank Visa card and was granted an initial provisional refund. But then Avianca disputed my dispute, and the charge was reinstated in May. I filed a protest with Citibank, and the refund was eventually permanently granted in July. I was financially whole, and I knew I wouldn’t have to deal with Avianca again after that. Hooray!

    Meanwhile… back in May I filed an official complaint with the DOT. Unfortunately, they didn’t help me at all. I received an email from a DOT employee in July stating that Avianca was potentially in violation of DOT rules. He stated that Avianca would be required to acknowledge the complaint within 30 days and respond to me within 60 days. I certainly never heard from Avianca, but I also never heard from the DOT guy again. I emailed him back a couple of times asking for an update, but he NEVER responded. Just as useless as Avianca.

    I mostly forgot about the issue after being granted the credit card refund, so imagine my surprise to receive an email from Avianca TODAY stating “your refund request has been authorized”! It’s almost laughable at this point that they deducted $20 from the amount I paid, but it really doesn’t affect me at this point so… I’m guessing Visa won’t be arguing about that. Anyway, I just wanted to say, hang in there everyone. My refund was officially granted by Avianca 7 months and 27 days after I requested it. 🙂

  34. As many have said I want to say thank you for this post. We had a trip booked in May with Avianca from SF to Honduras and after trying to call, chat, and email Avianca and submitting a a request through DOT we finally received an email that our refund will be processed. The email did said it was because we submitted a complaint with the DOT so if you haven’t done that do it now!
    From the other comments it looks like they are finally processing refunds.

  35. Avianca canceled my flight to Medellin, Colombia and I filled out a refund request in July and still has not received the refund in my bank account! They canceled my flight and reported that I will get the full refund. I tried to dispute it with my financial institution and they denied it. I am so upset , been waiting for the refund since July 2020. It is very upsetting, I received an email from Avianca a week ago saying “your voucher is ready to book your flight”, I don’t want to book a flight, I need the money back! I will never purchase from this terrible airline again!

  36. Does anyone know how long it took on your credit cards for the money to appear after Avianca “Authorizes” the refund. I know the standard message was up to 30-days but I was interested in knowing realistically how many days did it take to show up on your accounts again.

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