Careful with United’s 24-hr cancellation policy 

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Like many of you, I’ve greatly benefited from the DOT-required 24-hr cancellation policy.  I consistently book great fare sales care-free, knowing that I have a day to decide whether or not I’ll make the trip or not.  However, as recently discussed on FlyerTalk, there seems to be a contradiction in United Airlines’ 24-hr refund policy terms.

  • On one hand, here’s what United’s booking e-mail confirmation says:


  • On the other hand, here’s what United’s official 24-hour refund policy looks like:

As you can see, there’s a very clear disconnect between the two.  The booking e-mail confirmation establishes a big IF within this policy; and although it’s in line with the DOT regulation, it is VERY misleading.  I can go to the UA website and read the policy prior to purchasing my ticket, upon which I decide that I will purchase my ticket 5 days prior to departure, only to find out when my e-mail confirmation arrives that the policy has changed and now I’m not entitled to a refund within 24 hours if I request it.  Furthermore, I asked United on twitter for clarification on this matter, and they representative informed that the e-mail wording was correct.  Not good!

So which is it, United??

In conclusion, although there hasn’t been any reports of this alternate policy being enforced by United, given the ‘additional details’ regarding the policy provided in the confirmation e-mails, they could claim they have the right to.  It’s something for us as customers to watch out for when booking tickets with departure dates within a week from booking.  But more importantly, what United does now that they’ve been made aware about this contradiction in their terms, will tell us a lot of what direction they’re moving in.  I’ll be following up with them some weeks from now to see if the policy as been made uniform across all their communication channels.  United has been making strides toward the top, however, there’s still a long road ahead, and seemingly small things like these are HUGE setbacks in the eye of the customer.  United, the ball is on your court.

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