Q: I had a roundtrip ticket on American Airlines from Boston to Washington, D.C., recently. As we prepared to board, the flight was canceled. There were no other flights available, and I could not travel.
I requested a refund and received only the Boston-Washington portion, which was $91. When I called, I was told the return flight was marked as used. This is impossible, as I never went anywhere that day.
A customer-service representative told me that there was nothing the airline could do and I had to file a written complaint, which I did. This smacks of the exact issue that affected another passenger you recently reported. That passenger also was denied a refund because her ticket was marked used, when it was not. I sincerely hope this is not the general practice of American Airlines. — Susan Cohen, Brookline, Massachusetts
A: American Airlines should have refunded your entire ticket. A careful check of its records would have shown that you didn’t use the return ticket. Case closed.
But your problem raises an interesting question. Technically, American Airlines — like all other carriers — has to refund the ticket only for a flight it cancels. And since American didn’t cancel the return flight, did it really have to return your fare?
This might be a new way for airlines to make even more money. If they cancel a flight, they have to refund only part of your ticket. I know, I know — don’t give them any ideas.
Obviously, you weren’t on the return flight. A quick email to American should have cleared that up. If it didn’t, an email to one of the airline’s customer service managers might have helped. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of American Airlines’ customer-service managers on my consumer-advocacy site: http://elliott. org/company-contacts/american.
I contacted American on your behalf, and it says it refunded your entire ticket.