When Allegiant Air pulls out of Bruce Sidaway’s home airport, what happens to the $117 voucher he has? Allegiant isn’t responding to his emails. But it should.
Q: I recently had to cancel a flight on Allegiant Air after having an accident. The airline sent me a voucher for $117. Shortly after that, Allegiant announced that it was discontinuing service to our home airport, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. I’m certain I will not be able to use this voucher. I’ve sent Allegiant three polite emails asking for a refund, but it isn’t responding. Could you help me get a refund? — Bruce Sidaway, Independence, Ohio
A: You canceled your flight, so Allegiant did what it was required to do — it offered you a voucher for the amount of your ticket. But in late 2021, Allegiant said it would end its operations at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, citing higher costs of serving that market.
When an airline pulls out of a market, you’re in a gray area when it comes to the consumer protection rules. There’s no requirement under the Department of Transportation regulations to refund your ticket. But as a practical matter, airlines will often offer a refund when they no longer serve a destination.
Your case was a little unusual because Allegiant didn’t respond to your emails. I wondered why. They were brief and polite — and they were addressed directly to the vice president of operations.
I think that was the problem. For requests like this, you’re better off going through the Contact Us page on the site at www.allegiantair.com/contactus. Only after that should you have escalated your case to one of the Allegiant executives on my consumer advocacy site at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/allegiant/.
Maybe Allegiant’s customer service team thought you might be able to drive to Cincinnati, a city it still serves. Many travelers looking for a deal on an airfare would spend a little extra time in a car, but you indicated that a four-hour drive to the airport just isn’t worth it. And besides, Allegiant sold you a ticket from Cleveland, not Cincinnati.
If an airline no longer serves your home airport, you should get a full refund for your ticket — or your ticket credit. It’s common sense. I contacted Allegiant on your behalf.
“Your inquiry must have prompted the airline to finally respond,” you said. “I received an unsigned email acknowledging their decision to refund the full amount of the voucher. The credit was applied to our credit card the next day.”
(c) 2022 Christopher Elliott
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