United Airlines Alters Its Refund Policy Again– For The Better

Since the start of the pandemic, United Airlines has been attracting a lot of outrage with its less-than-ideal refund policies. From changing the policy itself to interpreting its own policy differently, many travelers have been angered by the US carrier. However, some sources out there are reporting that United is changing things yet again – this time, for the better.

The new changes will be retroactive. Photo: United Airlines News Room

The latest policy change

According to The Points Guy, as of June 6th, United Airlines will be reverting back to its original two-hour refund policy that was in place before it faced the troubles associated with the coronavirus. An airline spokesperson told the website:

We are continually looking at ways to better support our customers, and as part of that effort, we’ve updated our guidelines for handling refunds when our flight schedule changes. We have always provided refunds for refundable tickets, and these updated guidelines will offer additional flexibility to our customers requesting refunds for non-refundable tickets when flight changes occur. If our customers would like to check on their refund eligibility, they can go to united.com/refunds to submit a request.

Delta and United
United has changed its refund policy several times since the beginning of the pandemic. Photo: Getty Images

Previously-scorned United customers will be happy to hear that this change is retroactive. Therefore, those who may have faced no choice but to accept a voucher or credit can now request a refund instead. This will only be returned to your original form of payment.

A brief history of United’s policy changes

United has changed its policy a number of times. You can see below how far we’ve come (as in ‘full-circle’):

  • Before March 7th, flight times changed by two hours or more would qualify for a full refund
  • Then on March 7th, a flight change of 25 hours or more was needed to qualify for a refund (or receive travel credit instead)
  • On March 12th, a full refund could be obtained for flights changed by more than six hours.
  • Then, on March 14th, the airline stated that if international travel is changed by six hours or more a travel credit would be issued to use within a year of the original ticket purchase date.
United NFL player sexual assault
United, like almost every other airline, has faced intense financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic. Photo: Getty Images

Department of Transportation’s response

According to The Points Guy, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) is reacting positively to United’s latest change. A DOT spokesperson is quoted as saying:

The Secretary of Transportation has called for increased flexibility by air carriers for passengers impacted by flight changes and for full refunds when flights are canceled, especially during the public health emergency. This policy change is an improvement towards the goal of better protecting passengers.

A reminder that refunds will be credited back to the original form of payment – which may be complicated if you’ve canceled your credit card since. Otherwise, credit card refunds will be processed within seven business days of the request, the airline says. It continues by saying that all other refunds will be processed within 20 business days of the request

What’s your reaction to this change by United? Let us know in the comments.