Can you get a refund if you have to cancel flights?

Posted at 5:14 PM, Jul 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-15 14:08:49-04

He booked a trip back home, then he had a medical emergency...on the day of the flight!

Robert Opitz thought it would be easy to cancel since his doctor wouldn't let him go, so he contacted Orbitz, a third-party website where he booked the trip. 

But Robert says Orbitz told him he needed to contact the airlines directly -- United would take him one way and American back. He says that didn't work either because he says the airlines told him to contact Orbitz.

Finally, he let me know.

Before your buy airline tickets, it's important to know airline cancelation policies -- and it's important to know who to go to if you buy from a third-party site.

In most cases, refunds are easy to get if a passenger dies, but that's not always the case with a medical condition.

Our Assistance League of Phoenix team, and volunteer MJ got involved. In a few months, after MJ got ahold of the right people, Robert got his $448 refunded to him.

Robert says, "I'm very, very happy and it’s the best thing I ever did."

American Airlines says they're glad they were able to refund Robert's money.

United Airlines says "our normal procedure for unplanned emergencies, such as hospitalization, is to extend the use of the value of a non-refundable ticket for one year and waive the change fee with appropriate documentation of the emergency. In Mr. Opitz' case, we made an exception and refunded the ticket as a courtesy due to the circumstances."

And Orbitz says they were "in contact with both American and United Airlines to work on behalf of our customer. We are bound by the policies of our airline partners who have specific rules for providing refunds. If a customer meets the criteria for a refund under the airlines' policies, it is the responsibility of the airline to provide the refund. In this specific case, Mr. Opitz did meet the criteria and was refunded by both airline partners. We are happy the issue has been resolved and the customer has received a full refund."

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Need my help? Call the Assistance League of Phoenix volunteers at 1-855-323-1515. You can also send me an emailor a video email where you attach a video explaining the problem.

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