Loopholes

I learn something new every day. With a birthday party scheduled this past weekend which involved airline travel to get to the party, and a major storm—Harper—causing the party to be rescheduled, I had been busily researching if it was possible to get my money back, since I purchased a nonrefundable Basic Economy ticket.

It turns out that the answer is possibly, because of a little-known detail (at least unknown to me) which I discovered in the fine print under the “conditions of carriage” at the bottom of each page. American Airlines’ conditions of carriage “defines the rights, duties and liabilities of customers and American, including during events beyond our control like weather.” If a ticketholder has a flight change of sixty-one minutes or more, then a full refund can be given “to the original form of payment.” This is not a credit with the airline but an actual refund.

Delta will not offer the deal until the delay exceeds 90 minutes, and United’s policy was too difficult for me to determine. Each domestic airline has their own policy, so my advice is to ask your airline, and to remember to use the words “conditions of carriage.” I got nowhere with my inquiry with American until I pitched those words to the agent on the telephone.

Although these airlines may offer to book you on their next available flight, you have the right of refusal, and you can do this from the warm and cozy comfort of your home if you happen to learn of a delay before your trip to the airport. So on this particular trip, I continued to check the weather and flight status, noting that my flight was inbound from Chicago, so there was the hope of a delay.

Sadly for me, my flight was on time, so I was forced to eat the price of the ticket. I won’t go next week because I believe the weather turned out to be not as bad as originally predicted because I did not go. You see, I am a winter unlucky charm. I have always encountered bad weather and delays every time I have traveled north during the winter months. I will see the birthday girl after the probability of encountering snow and ice have greatly diminished.

Hopefully the shutdown will be over by then, because I am not secure in flying when the people responsible for my safety may be a tad tired from perhaps working another job or stressed from not having the income of a second job.

 

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