**Update: 04/14/20 @ 00:20 UTC – A United spokesperson shared information on its refund policy; details below**
The Israel Consumer Council has launched a class suit against several carriers including United Airlines. The group has accused these firms of breaking Israeli law due to not refunding tickets that they canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other operators included in the lawsuit are Ukraine Airlines, Aegean Airlines, and Vueling. The suit says that all these companies are solely offering customers vouchers or tickets for new dates.
Council director general Ofer Marom claims that the airlines were showing impertinence. He said that not offering refunds goes against the law within his country.
Marom said the below, as reported by The Times of Israel.
“The law dictates that following the cancellation of a flight by the airline company, the customer is entitled to a monetary refund or an alternative ticket, according to his or her choice, with the companies obliged to inform the travelers about the possibility of getting their money back.”
There were other airlines under fire from Israeli authorities due to their reimbursement policies. Air France, Iberia, TAP, and KLM were approached and soon changed their tone. Now, they offer cash refunds to thousands of their Israeli passengers.
While the country tries to get on top of the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has temporarily halted all incoming flights. This is until legal steps can be taken to allow authorities to transfer all arriving travelers to state-run quarantine facilities for 14 days. This is similar to how China is currently handling passengers coming in.
Several Israeli United passengers will be eager to have the option of a cash refund. However, just like several other carriers, the airline is facing a tough predicament of trying to retain cash flow while most of its flights are suspended.
It has made changes to its refund policies a few times recently. Passengers can automatically rebook eligible trips to an alternative flight for no fee or request an electronic travel certificate. Therefore, they can choose a flight in the future.
In March, the airline shared that if credit for canceled flights is not used within 12 months, then customers will be issued with a cash refund. Altogether, the pandemic has caused unprecedented consequences for the whole aviation industry. With United looking to finalize its bailout deal with the United States government, it could soon be in a better situation to offer more instant refunds.
Despite all the troubles, the company has been doing its best to provide urgent assistance during the pandemic. It has been providing several special services to get people home, along with operating cargo flights to transport important medical supplies.
Word from United
Simple Flying reached out to United for further comment on its refund policy. However, the airline wasn’t able to comment on ongoing litigation.
Nonetheless, a spokesperson shared that eligible travelers on international flights can request a refund on United.com or may call its contact centers if their flights have been severely adjusted or suspended either due to government mandates or United schedule reductions related to COVID-19.
The spokesperson also said that the company is proud of the role it plays during this crisis and continues to operate to nearly every destination in the United States as well as six international markets across the globe, including Tel Aviv.
What are your thoughts on the lawsuit that United is facing over its refunds? Have you been impacted by its policy? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.