In response to falling demand and travel restrictions, airlines across the globe have continued to adjust their flight schedules and make necessary flight cuts.

While we are seeing more airlines relaxing their flight change & cancellation rules, in favour of the customers, United Airlines has just made it harder for passengers to seek a ticket refund, when the flight is delayed or cancelled.

What is The Policy Change

Effective today, a refund will only be offered if there is a schedule change of at least 25 hours; the previous threshold was at least 2 hours.

Suppose your United flight from SFO to NRT on 9th March is cancelled, you cannot ask for a refund if United choose to re-book you on the same flight the next day (10th March).

Questionable Explanation For The Policy Change

Here is the explanation by United:

We recently announced a significant reduction of our international and domestic schedules and as a result, we expect more customers to be impacted than normal. This policy change allows us to accommodate our customers by offering more options to rebook their flights.

It is quite clear that United is forcing an explanation out for this unfavourable policy change; which, in my opinion, failed horribly.

We all understand that airlines are having one of their toughest times right now. I believe many of us would be understanding if United were to be forthcoming in explaining that this policy change is necessary to keep the company afloat.

United Flight Cancellations Over The Week

Based on publicly available data, we noticed that United has made approximately 176 flight cancellations (scheduled for April) over the last week.

These flight cancellations are attributed to Covid-19, rather than travel seasonality. Here is the list of routes with more than 1 flight cancellation, just over last week.

RoutesNumber of Flights Cancelled Last Week
(Scheduled for April)
EWR-SFO3
EWR-MCO2
EWR-LAX2
EWR-PIT2
LAS-SFO2
SAN-SFO2
IAD-SFO2
IAD-LAX2
IAH-SEA2
EWR-PBI2
DEN-LAX2
EWR-IAD2
EWR-LAS2
MCO-ORD2
DEN-PAE2
ORD-ROA2

You may download the full list in the PDF below.

BoardingArea