Author Topic: Likelihood of Domestic Flight Cancellation?  (Read 970 times)

Mr. Freedom

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Likelihood of Domestic Flight Cancellation?
« on: April 17, 2020, 07:04:43 AM »
I was wondering if anyone has any insight on potential domestic flight cancellations in the coming weeks.  I do not fly very often at all and would appreciate any tips or pointers on my situation.  At the beginning of the year, I booked a flight to Orlando where a cheer competition that my kid was scheduled to be held.  The event was cancelled due to the coronavirus epidemic. 

I had booked the flight on American Airlines (AA) purchasing basic economy tickets which was the best price I could get at the time.  With basic economy, AA does not ordinarily allow for any changes to be made to flight arrangements but I have called them already and they indicated that given the circumstances with the epidemic they are allowing for tickets to be cancelled and issuing a credit (no refunds) for another flight that must be scheduled within 1 year of when the tickets were purchased.  Ideally, Id like to hold out on changing the reservation if theres any chance I could get a refund.

Our flight was scheduled to depart on April 30th and I have been waiting to see if ultimately the flight might be cancelled in which case my understanding is the airline has to then has to issue a refund.  I did find a flight cancellation/delay tracking website https://flightaware.com/live/cancelled/ which shows, for example, that today 32% of all flights to Orlando were cancelled. 

I did also get an email notice from AA today indicating that my flight information has changed.  It still departs on the same day, but the flight will now leave 1 hour and 19 minutes later than it was originally scheduled to and will arrive 1 hour and 16 minutes later than it was originally scheduled to.  Is that significant enough of a change to warrant a refund?  If anyone has any insight or guidance on this situation Id appreciate it.

Thanks.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2020, 07:26:03 AM by Mr. Freedom »

terran

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Re: Likelihood of Domestic Flight Cancellation?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2020, 10:21:19 AM »
Sounds like you have your answer: 32%.

The airlines know the rules, so they'd rather have as many people cancel for credit rather than have to give the money back. It's basically a game of chicken to see who blinks first. If enough people blink (cancel) then they'll cancel the flight. You may as well wait until things get pretty close, but I'm not sure how close you should wait. I'd be interesting in reading opinions on this. We cancelled a trip 3 days before departure.

I believe the current policy (found from updates listed here) is that you have until Dec 31, 2021 to use the credit. 

affordablehousing

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Re: Likelihood of Domestic Flight Cancellation?
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2020, 10:36:41 AM »
Airlines are flying at about 3% of normal capacity. It's safer to fly than go to the grocery store. Every flight I've heard about has no more than 10 people on the plane. If you have interest in going to Orlando and sitting on the beach by yourself enjoy the trip, otherwise I'd just take the credit.

Telecaster

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Re: Likelihood of Domestic Flight Cancellation?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2020, 10:39:29 AM »
  It still departs on the same day, but the flight will now leave 1 hour and 19 minutes later than it was originally scheduled to and will arrive 1 hour and 16 minutes later than it was originally scheduled to.  Is that significant enough of a change to warrant a refund? 

Nope.

Lucky Penny Acres

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Re: Likelihood of Domestic Flight Cancellation?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2020, 12:17:52 PM »
The change in times may be large enough.

I don't know AA's policy specifically, but have read articles in the recent weeks that several airlines have a policy that permits refunds if the scheduled time moves by more than 60 minutes.  You may want to call back again and argue that the time has moved so significantly that you are entitled to a refund under their policies.

After a quick search - this might be where it shows 60+ minutes give you a refund: https://saleslink.aa.com/en-US/documents/Archives/AgencyRef/Schedule_Change_Refunds_Only.pdf

You will likely have to call them and argue about it - try to reference the policy.


Cranky

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Re: Likelihood of Domestic Flight Cancellation?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2020, 12:18:57 PM »
Im still waiting for AA to cancel our flight to Italy next month. Ugh.

reeshau

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Re: Likelihood of Domestic Flight Cancellation?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2020, 12:26:02 PM »
I would expect a lot of consolidations of flights, rather than total cancellations of routes.  In fact, as part of the federal airline bailout, they cannot cancel a domestic route without government approval.  See the latest attempt from Spirit and JetBlue:

https://thepointsguy.com/news/jetblue-spirit-rejected-by-dot-on-nearly-all-bailout-waiver-requests/

This harkens back to the regulated industry of the 70's, where airlines were paid to provide "critical sefvices."  JetBlue and Spirit were trying to cancel flights to, among others, Minneapolis, Dallas, and Houston--all hub airports of competitors, and not exactly "underserved" cities.

Mr. Freedom

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Re: Likelihood of Domestic Flight Cancellation?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2020, 01:03:38 PM »
Wow, thank you for all of the perspectives and guidance.  I plan to call to request a refund based off of the change of 61+ minutes initiated by the airline and see what happens there. Thanks for the link on that Lucky Penny Acres.  If that doesn't work, I'll give it a little more time until closer to 4-30 before calling again to cancel and claim the credit to see if the flight may get cancelled by the airline. 

Thank you!

tomorrowsomewherenew

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Re: Likelihood of Domestic Flight Cancellation?
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2020, 09:55:45 AM »
We had flights scheduled on American Airlines just a few days ago, and they were cancelled.

GreenSheep

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Re: Likelihood of Domestic Flight Cancellation?
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2020, 03:05:12 PM »
Wow, AA changed their Conditions of Carriage. I got a refund a week or two ago with zero hassle because they changed my departure time by something like an hour and a half. At the time, their CoC said that even nonrefundable tickets were refundable if AA changed the departure time by more than 61 minutes. I checked just now, and it says

"We will refund a non-refundable ticket (or the value of the unused segment of your trip) to the original form of payment if:
    You cancel within 24 hours of booking (and booked at least 2 days before departure).
    We cancel your flight
    We make a schedule change that results in a change of more than 4 hours to your departure time
    A passenger or their travel companion dies.*
    Military orders require you to cancel your trip.*"

https://www.aa.com/i18n/customer-service/support/conditions-of-carriage.jsp

However, I wonder if they would still be required to honor their CoC from the time when you booked the flight, which would mean that you'd fall under the 61 minutes category.