COVID-19: Requesting a voucher vs. refund for flights, hotels and cruises

Apr 14, 2020

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Many of you have had to cancel travel plans this year. The coronavirus pandemic is forcing travel providers to cut their offerings to near zero, and stay-at-home orders are having a huge effect on flights, cruises, hotels and every other aspect of the travel industry.

Airlines have been proactive with rebooking options, and have waived cancellation and change fees. Now, with the slump extending for weeks and likely months, they are strapped for cash — so they tend to offer vouchers for future travel, rather than refunds.

Cruise lines have been offering vouchers too, sometimes with an added bonus, in some cases up to a very enticing 125% of the value of the original ticket. But vouchers, be they airline or cruise, expire and often carry other restrictions.

So, you may opt for a cash refund instead.

When it comes to airlines, we’ve covered in detail how you are entitled to a refund for your canceled flight. We’ve also explained why it’s a good idea to wait until the last minute to request one. Airlines are legally obligated to offer a refund if they cancel a flight operating to, from or within the U.S.

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The key to understanding the process is knowing the  difference between voluntary and involuntary flight changes.

In this video, TPG Audience & Community Producer Wallace Cotton explains what’s involved and what you should do when asking for a refund versus a voucher from an airline, a cruise line, an accommodation or a tour provider.

Featured photo by Paulo Amorim/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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