'They just took my money’: Expiring credits for flights canceled by COVID-19 surprise consumers

VIDEO: Expiring credits for flights canceled by COVID-19 surprise consumers

There’s more trouble for airlines passengers who had flights cancelled by COVID-19. Future flight credits have expirations, and many consumers fear they might not be able to use them in time.

“They just took my money,” Joe Ravida said.

Months after COVID-19 cancelled his wife’s flight to Cleveland, Ravida claims Frontier Airlines now refused to honor the credits offered for a new ticket.

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“They already got the money. They spent it. They’re not out anything,” Ravida said.

In April, his wife, Mary, cancelled a flight to Cleveland because of the pandemic. The airline offered a $382 credit but no refund. Recently the couple discovered that credit had been erased. It expired after 90 days.

Ravida says it was in the ticket fine print they never knew about.

“During a pandemic why would they still hold me to this 90-day thing when we’re afraid to fly,” Ravida said.

It’s the latest setback for airline passengers who got credits instead of refunds for COVID-19-cancelled flights. They’re discovering those credits can disappear.

Some credits expire in just 3 months, but many passengers have up to a year.

Ravida told Frontier, the couple didn’t feel safe booking tickets yet, but he kept getting the same response.

“And the manager said the same thing, just like a recording with them. t’s our policy and that’s just the way it is,” Ravida said.

Airline consumer experts Action 9 talked to, say the pandemic’s impact is so extreme, credit expirations should be modified.

“I think 3 months is a ridiculously short period of time, since no one knows when the pandemic is going to end. It would be better to give people credits for at least a year from when the federal government declares an end to this public health emergency,” said Susan Grant of the Consumer Federation of America.

Airline refund complaints soared since COVID-19. In its most recent monthly report, the Aviation Consumer Protection Office received more than 10,000 complaints compared to just 187 that same month a year ago.

After Action 9 contacted Frontier about Ravida’s cancelled credit, the airline restored their credits to use toward future flights.

“You don’t have to refund my money back. I just want it as a credit,” Ravida said.

If you have airline credits, check for expiration dates, and dispute any lost credits with the Department of Transportation.

The agency has urged airlines to consider cash refunds for any COVID-19-cancelled flights.