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Report shows airline refund policies rank among top complaints since pandemic

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Posted at 5:22 PM, Dec 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-03 20:47:11-05

DENVER — It's not exactly surprising that complaints involving airlines were skyrocketing during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but a new report shows those complaints have yet to reach pre-pandemic levels.

"So we’re still seeing a high level high number of complaints, the number one version of the complaint is around refunds, trouble getting refunds," said Danny Katz, Executive Director of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group, or CoPIRG.

Frontier, United and Hawaiian Airlines had the most complaints per 100,000 travelers, according to a recent report from CoPIRG. The consumer watchdog group also found that Southwest and Allegiant had the fewest complaints since May of 2020 and they were more likely to deal with issues caused by the pandemic better than others.

"When people are making airline decisions, they should be taking this into account," said Katz.

Jason Reynolds was supposed to travel to Las Vegas in April 2020 and he contacted Frontier Airlines in hopes of getting a refund. Reynolds said he was offered a 90-day voucher instead.

"It wasn’t a good solution because no one was traveling," said Reynolds.

Reynolds said he contacted Frontier again when the voucher was about to expire because he had not been able to use it. He said he spent hours on the phone before filing a complaint with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

After contacting Frontier multiple times, he said he was finally issued another voucher that was valid for a longer period of time. His wife and daughter finally used it last month.

"There’s no way it should’ve dragged on the way it did and the hours that we talked about just to get $279 back, I lost money but at the same time, I still feel like I got the right resolution for what I was trying to accomplish," said Reynolds.

Doug Conry experienced a similar issue when his Frontier Airlines flight to Puerto Vallarta was canceled in 2020. He said he also spent countless hours on the phone trying to get his money back. At one point, he said a customer service representative suggested he should go to Florida instead, a comment that irked him even more.

"It’s not my fault, I should’ve gotten a refund but they talked me into doing the voucher," said Conry.

Conry hopes to use his voucher to fly to Mexico early next year.

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