United’s New Schedule Change Policy
United and other airlines have been hard hit by the decline in travel demand due to coronavirus. Almost every airline out there has cut back flights and issued fee waiver that you can find here. But United also made a shocking change that made it worse for travelers who had their flight schedule changed.
At first it was changed from two hours to 25 hours. That was obviously insane, so after backlash, United lowered the time frame to 6 hours. But it is still worse than it sounds. Reservation agents have been told that if a passenger cannot be rebooked on a different flight, they will receive travel credit valid for one year from date of booking. Only after the year is up, they can receive cash refunds. Here is the announcement:
Our goal remains to automatically re-book as many customers as possible within 6 hours of their originally scheduled flight. For any customer whose international travel is disrupted by more than 6 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.
In addition, this change also maintains our ability to manage our business through this evolving and difficult set of circumstances.
Read more details here.