Air China has unlawfully refused to issue refunds for flights canceled amid the COVID-19 crisis, a proposed class action claims.
Filed in South Carolina district court, the 14-page case notes the U.S. Department of Transportation issued in early April an enforcement notice reminding airlines of their obligation to promptly refund passengers for flights to, from or within the United States that are canceled by the carrier. The case adds that the airlines’ duty to reimburse passengers for ticket prices and any optional fees remains in place even when flight disruptions are out of a carrier’s control, e.g. as a result of government restrictions. Moreover, the DOT’s enforcement notice minces no words with regard to the inappropriateness of offering vouchers or credits for future travel in place of proper refunds, the suit continues.
The plaintiff, a missionary and congregational leader, claims he and six others were scheduled to fly with Air China, one of the People’s Republic of China’s major carriers, on two occasions during a trip to the Philippines: once on a departing flight from Fairfax, Virginia to Beijing and later on a return flight from Beijing back to Fairfax. According to the case, the plaintiff and his companions’ return flight was canceled by Air China while they were abroad due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
Per the suit, the plaintiff paid $696.32 for each round-trip ticket with Air China. The man says he did not receive notice of his return flight’s cancellation from Air China, and learned of such only when he checked the status of the flight.
The complaint says the plaintiff called Air China to request a refund but was told he had to take the matter up with the entity from whom he bought his ticket, Justairticket.com. Though the website provided the plaintiff with a partial refund, the man has not received a full refund from Air China, the suit alleges.
Consumers have taken to the internet to express their dismay at Air China’s apparent refusal to issue refunds, the case goes on to say. Per the suit, numerous reviews submitted to TripAdvisor make reference to Air China “stealing your money” and the tedious and ostensibly fruitless experiences of those who have attempted to get reimbursement.
Air China joins nearly every other major airline in facing proposed class action litigation over their apparent refusal to issue refunds for flights canceled amid the pandemic.
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.