Where Do We Stand With Getting A Refund From Avianca?

Avianca
image: Aero Shots

Last week I wrote about how Avianca had canceled our flight in Ecuador from Guayaqil to the Galapagos.

When I found out that our flight was canceled (we would’ve canceled if the airline didn’t), Avianca stated that the ticket would remain valid until we had a new travel date.

When an airline cancels a flight, I think it’s fair for us to expect a refund not the opportunity to pick a new future travel date.

Prior to finding out about the flight cancelation, I tried filling out an online refund form without success. Calls to reach the airline were also unsuccessful.

After I received the cancelation e-mail, I again tried filling out the online refund form and also tried calling. Both attempts have been a waste of time. I also sent a direct message to Avianca through Twitter. No, they have not responded…

Next steps…

Reaching out to the credit card company:

Kim charged the flight to her new Capital One credit card so we decided to reach out to them to dispute the charge (which hasn’t yet been paid).

The representative understood our argument and took down some details related to the flight and the cancelation. We clearly stated that the airline canceled the flight and would not be fulfilling their services.

As of now, the credit card company said they will be reaching out to Avianca and the bill has been charged back (or something like that).

I guess we’ll see if Capital One can get through to Avianca.

Filing a DOT Complaint:

I was debating whether or not we should file a complaint with the DOT. A comment from a reader on my previous post convinced me to do so.

I received a response Alexander A. Taday III, the Director of Civil Rights Advocacy Aviation Consumer Protection Division US Department of Transportation that my complaint was being forward to the airline. The e-mail mentioned that they ask the airline to respond to me directly with a response within 60 days.

Final Thoughts:

We’re sill going to try to call Avianca but we don’t expect to get through due to how calls have went previously. However, between the credit card company dispute and DOT complaint, I feel confident that we’ll be to get this settled and be refunded for the flight.

Is it just me… I find it extremely ridiculous how an airline thinks it’s fair to keep a customer’s money for a flight THEY CANCELED! Did they provide the service the customer booked? NO! So how can can they tell us that we can rebook the flight in the future and not refund us? It just doesn’t make sense.

12 thoughts on “Where Do We Stand With Getting A Refund From Avianca?

  1. Avianca is cash strapped and even more so now. I had a similar experience (canceled flight to the Galapagos and, separately, canceled flight from IAD – SAL and then an involuntary downgrade from a paid F ticket). It has taken over a year to get around 50% of what they owe me, and even that was only via email to the CEO.

    It pains me every time someone is pimping LifeMiles as a viable redemption strategy. While I’m sure it works well when it works, Avianca will cease to be a going concern in the coming weeks and have a history of full fledged fraudulent behavior.

  2. I am in the same boat with two business class tickets between Lima and Cusco. I managed to get through to a representative over the phone, but he could not guarantee I would get my full refund, and told me to cancel online. We’ll see if I actually get my full refund, but the policy of the airline cancelling the flight and then not issuing a full refund is ridiculous and I’ll think twice about ever using Avianca again.

  3. I had the same issue with Avianca too! (Cartegena-Bogotá-Washington) I went thru the refund request process which apparently takes up to 90 days to find out what the resolution is…Still waiting to hear back but I’m not hopeful.

  4. Stephen Tao- Good luck! I’d be worried to cancel the flight and then expect the refund. Avianca will now be able to say you decided to cancel..

    Lex- When I tried filling out the online refund request, it wouldn’t work. I tried a few times and gave up. I’d love to hear how your refund turns out. Good luck!

  5. Have flights two flights with them that have been cancelled.
    I’m considering not even bothering putting in for a refund – seems like there is little chance I’d get it.

    Sometimes travel throws us curveballs. I consider myself fortunate to get to see the world. I don’t need to make a big fuss when I lose a few thousand dollars in a global pandemic (I’m not rich, FYI).

    Part of the game. And while it sucks we won’t get refunds – I don’t think it’s worth spending so much time complaining about with airlines like this.

  6. We are on the same boat! two first class tickets to Lima. We went through American Express who was not able to get us a refund. I am still calling Avianca often, first I was told to wait 90 days for a refund, now I am being told we requested a voucher (which we did not) thus we will not get a refund….

    Completely infuriating .

  7. I have had no problem completing the paperwork online but as my application was approved in April I am still waiting on any money coming through from a flight that was booked for middle of March that was cancelled. I spoke to someone on the chat feature on their website at the end of May who said it could take another 30 days for it to come through. I’ve now waited a total of 90 days and still nothing.

  8. Dean- I don’t know, I wouldn’t be s quick to just let an airline keep my money that I spent on a flight which never took off.

    Sarah Avila- That stinks! Avianca has certainly not handled this well.

    Pam- That’s crazy! We sent the details regarding the refund being approved to the credit card company.

  9. I put in for a refund online in March. I was constantly calling them. I then filed a complaint on their website about a month ago. I received an email saying that I would be getting a refund. While waiting for a response from them, I filed a dispute from my credit card. I was denied. I wanted to continue my dispute, so sent them 16 pages of emails, phone calls, messages etc. I called the credit card today and was told I was denied because I had bought a nonrefundable ticket. I then told them that I had received an email from Avianca saying that I should be receiving a refund. With those emails and a screen shot of transportation.gov stating “Non-refundable tickets – Passengers who purchase non-refundable tickets are not entitled to a refund unless the airline makes a promise to provide a refund or the airline cancels a flight or makes a significant schedule change. ” I will hopefully for sure get my refund. I was consist on calling them though.

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