Q: Frontier Airlines canceled my flights from Minneapolis to Denver last summer. I requested a refund since the next available flights were significantly later. Consequently, these Frontier flight cancellations qualify passengers for a refund under Department of Transportation regulations.
I have spent hours on hold with Frontier and talking to agents. When Frontier canceled my flights, a phone agent said they were able to find all of the payments I made by credit card and that every single one would be refunded to my Visa. I don't want or need any Frontier vouchers or flight credits.
Several phone agents have assured me that they submitted a refund request, and I should wait seven to 10 business days for the refund to process. But I've been waiting for more than a year. Can you help me get my money back?
Kristy Heer, Minnetonka
A: You're right. Under DOT regulations, an airline owes you a refund if it cancels your flight. If you requested a refund, you should have received one within a week.
But it looks like there were a few complicating factors. You paid for your ticket with Frontier flight credits, which means you would have only been entitled to receive flight credits as a refund. However, it looks like a Frontier representative promised you a cash refund, even though you had paid with credits and paid only the taxes by credit card. As a result, you received about $18 back from Frontier instead of the $253 you thought you would get.
Making matters worse, it looks as if Frontier didn't even try to reissue your flight credit, so you ended up with $18 and no flight credits. That doesn't seem fair. After all, you didn't cancel the flight — Frontier did.
I reviewed the paper trail between you and Frontier. Nice job on keeping all of your correspondence, by the way. It shows you repeatedly asking for something you were entitled to — a full refund. It also shows Frontier promising you that refund in writing.
Why didn't Frontier do what it said? I'm going to chalk this one up to pandemic confusion. As a last resort, you could have reached out to one of the executive contacts at Frontier for help; I list them on my consumer advocacy site, elliott.org. You can also file a complaint with the DOT, which could have moved things along.
I reached out to Frontier on your behalf, and it issued the cash refund it had promised. A representative said your refund was already "in the queue" when I contacted it. You showed much more patience than Frontier deserved, but that patience was finally rewarded.
Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit consumer organization. Contact him at elliott.org/help or firstname.lastname@example.org.