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.

23 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.

  8. We are in the exact same position with Avianca. We booked 7 tickets from Los Angeles to Costa Rica for spring break. I have filed for refund, I made complaints to Avianca and the DOT. The DOT tried to tell me that I cancelled my own flight which I emailed to correct as Avianca cancelled all US flights in April, so I never cancelled anything. Avianca emailed me:

    “In our Customer Service department, we have received the comments you sent us through our website, regarding your refund request XXXXXX.
    Allow us to inform you, due to the global situation presented by the COVID-19 outbreak and the high volume of requests, we do not have an estimated time for the refund of your money, we invite you to leave your ticket open to serve as part of payment for future services with the airline.”

    We also booked on Capital One and have not had any success in getting the money back through the credit card.

  9. Lisa- I am surprised that the DOT isn’t being a bit more helpful. Did the DOT forward your complaint to the airline or not do so due to the confusion? I hope that this works out for you.

  10. I was to fly with Avianca to Ecuador in early March 2020. Part of my ticket (the return) was first class and should have been refundable. I applied for a refund and haven’t heard a word from them at all! It’s AUGUST now. I don’t want to argue with them by phone but I can’t find a way to email them…

  11. I had had to cancel a ticket from San Jose, CR to San Francisco, CA due to COVID 19. Requested the refund online and received a confirmation number but now 2 months later the status is still listed as received. I also requested a refund from AA as the return trip was thru them and received it about 2 weeks later. I can’t believe how AVIANCA is being allowed to do this to it’s costumers. If any one has success let us know.

  12. I am in the same issue as you. Capital one charged me 3 grand back on my CC without notice and they sent me a letter in the email stating that Avianca said no… So my CC company seriously gave up and accepted no as an answer I am pissed. So I sent Capital One a 32-page packet with all the laws and policy according to the DOT which has yet to contact me back. This is just all so frustrating and this airline is a complete joke.

  13. Hello – I am so sorry to hear you are all going through this too. I requested a refund back in February (I had to cancel due to illness) and it was approved. My status says “received” and they technically have approved the refund, but there is no estimate on when the refund will arrive. It’s been over 7 months now.. I have never been so frustrated by an airline experience.

  14. My experience was a bit different since I never actually paid the credit card bill for the flight. I have more recent posts on my refund. Good luck everyone. Avianca was a real pain to deal with.

  15. I believe Avianca is intentionally depriving clients of funds they are not legally entitled to for their benefit. I too paid Avianca for a service that was not rendered, they canceled my flight twice, and continue to withhold my funds months later. These tickets were fully refundable. When I asked Capital One to reverse the charges, Avianca disputed the reversal. It’s amazing that they have time to dispute a reversal, but can’t find time to issue a refund after months. I have been in touch with Co-founder of Avianca, Luz Marina Diaz Aristizabal on LinkedIn, she’s useless. I am going to contact the Judge (Allan L Gropper) who is handling Avianca’s bankruptcy. An investigation and audit should be launched in order to determine if Avianca is violating consumer rights while hiding behind the veil of bankruptcy protection.

    1. Rick, dif capital one give you back the funds? Then charged you again after avianca said no. They did this to me and I don’t know what else to do I feel like capital one isn’t fighting or helping me at all. They just accepted a no answer from them and then charged me again. I don’t know what to do anymore I’ve done so much and I don’t get any contact or feedback.

      1. Capital One did the same exact thing to me. Initially they credited the account, asked for more information and then reversed the credit. It’s amazing that Avianca has time to dispute a reversal, but they can’t manage to process a refund.
        The founder-general manager of Avianca, Luz Marina Diaz Aristizabal, replied this morning saying “this is out of her scope and that I have followed all of the correct channels to obtain a refund.” How is processing a refund out of the scope of the general manger? I see that Avianca has an F rating with the BBB, so I don’t think that is a useful avenue. I’ve filed a complaint with the DOT, but I am considering reaching out to the judge who is handling Avianca’s bankruptcy, Judge Allan Gropper (allangropper@gmail.com). These trade practices are in direct violation of federal laws. If I don’t have a resolution in the near future I will file a civil suit in small claims. It’ll cost them more to defend the decade then to pay. I don’t think they’ll even hire someone to represent them. I’ll probably end up obtaining a default judgement. In Florida the limit for small claims is $8000.

  16. Hi all,

    I am also going through the same thing. I requested a refund only two months ago and it is still showing up as “Received” online. They did send me the following email a month later stating the following: ”
    We know you applied for a refund for your xxxxx ticket and we would like you to have the experience of flying with Avianca. Enjoy comfort, earn miles, customize your flight and many more benefits for you. That’s why we want to offer you to exchange your ticket for an Avianca voucher so you can travel whenever you want. ”

    The new deadline is Dec 2021 to request for a refund. I am wondering if I should just give in for the voucher and hope we can travel next year! Thoughts?

    1. I personally wouldn’t because you never know if they will have the flights you originally had. I just feel like they have no money so eventually they will stop flying all together… I wish you the best of luck and this is horrible for all of us 🙁

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *