United Airlines, like every airline, is facing a difficult time in this era of worldwide travel limitations. However, unlike every other airline, United is trying to inflate their cash reserves by keeping your money when they make schedule changes.
United Makes a New Schedule Change Policy – They Get to Keep Your Money for One Year
The first schedule change policy came as they said that any schedule changes that were up to 25 hours from the original schedule would not result in a refund. This was absolutely ridiculous and they changed it a couple more times to include a case-by-case basis system.
Now, a new schedule change policy for international flights lets them issue a travel credit for any schedule change of over 6 hours that does not work for you. To make it clear that they want your money, they will only issue an actual refund if you do not use the travel credit for 12 months. In other words, they are going to use customers’ money as an interest-free loan – for one year.
International rebooking: Our goal remains to automatically re-book as many customers as possible within six hours of their originally scheduled flight. For any customer whose international travel is disrupted by more than six hours because of schedule changes resulting from government restrictions, they will retain a travel credit equal to the value of their ticket. That credit can be used towards any flight, to any destination, for 12 months from the time of purchase. If the customer chooses not to use the credit, they will receive a cash refund at the end of that 12 month period. Importantly, this new way of helping customers manage through changing flight schedules also applies to residents from other countries who effectively can no longer travel to the U.S. because they would face a 14-day quarantine upon arrival as well as customers impacted more broadly by government-mandated travel restrictions or quarantines.
The translation of that? If they have a schedule change of more than 6 hours and the new flight option does not work for you, you get a flight credit you can use for any flight that will last for 12 months. Unlike normal travel credits that would expire, at the end of 12 months if you didn’t use it, you will get a cash refund.
That is ridiculous and should be a warning against booking any international flights through United during this time. That is, unless you like giving the airlines a nice loan without getting any interest should they change the schedule…