September 22, 2021

ilpuntontc

Just Do Travel

I don’t want a credit for my canceled tour

2 min read

DEAR TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER: A group of friends and I booked a tour to Spain and Morocco through Tripmasters, a tour operator, in 2019. Our flights were on Delta Air Lines

Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter ...
Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter 

In March 2020, Delta rescheduled our return flights to Minneapolis because of COVID-19. This revised itinerary stopped in Boston with no return flight to Minneapolis. Delta issued a travel waiver and offered to reschedule the flights without penalty.

In April, I canceled our hotel reservations via email, spoke with Delta to cancel our flights and found out the tour operator made the flight reservations and owned the booking.

Tripmasters also notified us that our hotels and the flight between Spain and Morocco were mostly nonrefundable.

I’ve contacted Tripmasters numerous times to request a full refund. A Tripmasters representative says we can only reschedule. In late April 2020, with COVID-19 raging in Spain, travel restrictions imposed and the continued closing of hotels and tourist locations, we knew this trip was impossible.
Can you help us get our $5,565 back?

— Anita Alexander, Arden Hills, Minn.

ANSWER: I’m sorry to hear about your canceled trip. Yours was one of hundreds of thousands of similar tours canceled during the pandemic — with one exception. Delta had changed your schedule, which means your flight was fully refundable. Under Department of Transportation rules, if an airline makes a significant schedule change or cancels your flight, you get a refund. So your tour operator’s later claim that you could only reuse your ticket credit may not have been entirely accurate

You have some options. You could contact the airline directly to ask about your refund — I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Delta Air Lines executives on my consumer advocacy site at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/delta-air-lines-customer-service-contacts/. You also could have contacted your credit card company to see if a chargeback was a possibility. Sometimes it is. And you could have reached out to your state attorney general or the Department of Transportation for help.

I shared all the contacts for those agencies with you and also recommended that you put everything in writing with the tour operator — no phone calls. Having your communication in writing shows that you gave Tripmasters an opportunity to fix the problem before appealing it to someone else.