Update: What’s Going On With Our Refund From Avianca?

image: Aero-Shots

Over Spring Break, the Michael W Travels family was supposed to head to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands but COVID-19 had other plans.

We were supposed to fly from New York to Guayaquil, Ecuador on JetBlue. That flight was canceled and we received a refund of our miles and taxes paid. Soon after, Avianca canceled our flight from Guayaquil to the Galapagos.

The charge to our Capital One card hadn’t yet been paid and we hoped it would just be a simple refund of some sort. It didn’t make sense that we’d have to pay for a service an airline didn’t provide.

Based on e-mails we received from Avianca, they said we could reschedule our flight for the future. This isn’t like rescheduling a flight for an hour or a day later, who knows when travel will be back to normal again!

We tried reaching out to the airline to request a refund but had no luck. We also failed in filling out an online refund. For more details, check out my post REFUND Us: Avianca Cancels Flight, Says We Can Rebook Until 3/21.

The following week, I posted a follow-up regarding where we stand with getting a refund from Avianca.

We reached out to the credit card company which was of little help. They contacted Avianca and the airline sent them documentation of the flight booking we had made. There was no disputing that we booked the flight, our dispute is regarding why we should pay for a flight they canceled!

A month later the charge reappeared on our credit card. We contacted Capital One and they were able to email us a unique link to a site to upload our statement and documents  of proof. The charge has not been paid and we are waiting for another response from Capital One.

We also filed a DOT complaint. We’ve since received a response from a legal analyst from Avianca. We were told to either reschedule our flight in the future or put in for a refund online. Initially, I responded to the e-mail with some questions but never got another response!

This led me to reach out to the DOT representative who was dealing with my case. I got a response within a day that my complaint would be sent to Avianca again.

In the meantime, I was finally able to apply for a refund on Avianca.com. Besides getting a confirmation, I’ve heard nothing about this since.

Less than a week ago, I got a response from a different Avianca legal analyst. I was told, “We have received your complaint; we are analyzing your case here in Ecuador,  and will answer you back as soon as possible.”

Final Thoughts:

While all of this has transpired, Avianca has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I’m not thinking that an opportunity to get a flight credit or rebook looks like a great option.

Regardless, I am now waiting on three things.

  1. What will Capital One rule on our dispute? Will they actually look at the evidence we provided or accept the fact that we did book a flight?
  2. Will Avianca respond to a refund request or will we be left to wait?
  3. When will I hear back from our second DOT complaint from Avianca? How long will this case analysis being done in Ecuador take to complete?

If you’re having similar issues with a canceled Avianca flight, let us know where you’re at in terms of trying to get a refund.

9 thoughts on “Update: What’s Going On With Our Refund From Avianca?

  1. Was in similar situation, contacted Avianca via email asked full refund of miles and money. Points were refunded promptly, finally got money back to cc 2 month later.

  2. Had a flexible ticket canceled in the beginning of February (not COVID related). Received a confirmation that I would receive the full amount within 30 days. Now it’s more than 100 days later and still no refund. Avianca says ‘things are taking a bit longer because of the crisis’, so let’s wait and see. Might try a chargeback via AmEx eventually…

  3. After my DOT complaint Avianca agreed to refund my money. That was in mid April. Now we’ve been through multiple emails with me, their legal person, and DOT where they claim they have started the refund, completed the refund but I haven’t checked my card statement, or my refund is soon to be completed. Usually all in the same day. Sometimes in the same email. As you’d guess still no money. I wouldn’t hold your breath.

  4. Same here in terms of contacting through email (support@lifemiles.com)
    Had miles and taxes refund within about a week.

  5. Alex- Not bad considering…

    Benji- I guess we’ll see what happens and if they actually look at the docs I sent in.

    Valentijn- Good luck! It seems like Avianca is screwing as many people as possible over.

    Emilie- Ouch. Was your charge already paid for?

    Corey- It seems like miles bookings haven’t been as much of an issue as paid tickets.

  6. I am so incredibly disappointed and frustrated. You may remember that I previously posted about trying to get $3400 back from Avianca when they changed our itinerary and then ultimately canceled our flights to Ecuador and back. After I filed my online refund request with them, I heard exactly nothing back. It’s now been 57 days (yes, I’m counting), and my status still shows as “RECEIVED”. I haven’t heard one peep from Avianca since applying for the refund. I filed a dispute with Citi Visa (Costco card) on April 1, and they gave me provisional credit. Now Avianca has disputed the refund and Citi Visa is reinstating the charge. Yesterday, I received an email from Citi telling me I have 10 days to file a protest if I want to have the case re-reviewed. I haven’t filed a DOT complaint yet, but I will definitely do so now. I was feeling pretty complacent, because I thought the credit card companies were supposed to protect us from exactly this sort of thing. My mistake.

  7. Rachel- I was also surprised that the credit card companies haven’t been more understanding. After the charge showed up again for us, we escalated the claim with documentation as I mentioned above.

    BTW- Our flight wasn’t originating in the US so our situation is a bit more complicated.

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