I need to rant. I’ve just about had it with United and their refunds department (oh, and perhaps their horrible computer system which can never process anything correctly). Let me explain.

As you all know, I have an award booking service, and one of my clients needed to change his award ticket for travel out of a different city. Ok, no problem. I changed the ticket with United and received the new confirmation and reissued tickets. I was also informed I would be refunded ~20 USD per ticket as the taxes were lower out of the new departure airport. Awesome!

This was back in early August. No refund yet.

United Airlines

United Airlines

I’ve called United every few days and here are some of the responses I’ve been getting:

  • The refund is being processed
  • There is no refund as the taxes were the same
  • You’ve already been refunded
  • We don’t refund taxes if it is a mileage ticket
  • Our records show no change

You have got to be kidding me. As much as I love United, when they screw up, it’s almost impossible to prove it to them. I changed the flights over the phone (since the website didn’t work.. shocking!), and was informed exactly the same thing the website was showing regarding the change. Of course they charged me the cancellation fees right away, but never bothered to refund the taxes.

It gets even more interesting. Today I called the refunds department directly and FINALLY someone competent enough could look at the history of the itinerary and see that it was changed and indeed see that the taxes were lower and a refund was due. However somehow she calculated the refund to be less than what I should receive. No idea how she calculated it that way (maybe currency exchange rates?), but either way I’ve finally been promised a refund (though a refund of $5 less than what it should be).

It still blows my mind that in 2016 airlines have such horrible systems, they virtually have no record of what is going on with a passenger’s itinerary and the history behind the changes. This wasn’t some complicated route, but rather a simple Germany to U.S. flight. Hopefully after days of calling, I will receive the slightly lower refund than what is originally due, but still… How are things like this possible in the modern world that we live in? I guess they are, especially after what we’ve seen happen to Delta recently…