If You're COVID-19 Positive, Will the Airline Refund You? Most airlines, at least officially, will only offer you your ticket's value in travel credit, which must be used within a year of the date you booked the original ticket, else you forfeit the value. Airlines such as American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Hawaiian Airlines will consider a refund only a case-by-case basis.
Fortunately, United Airlines does typically provide a refund if you test COVID-19 positive with an official positive test result showing your name, positive COVID-19 result, and the testing provider's name (i.e. conducted by a lab or medical provider, not an unsupervised at-home test). We had occasion to use this recently when a family member was unable to travel due to coming down with COVID-19. We had an Urgent Care clinic conduct a NAAT rapid COVID-19 test, which came back positive.
Note that you won't be able to call in or chat to obtain a refund; you'll instead need to cancel the flight and accept a travel credit, then submit a refund request at http://united.com/refunds, adding your trip, providing details of your refund request, and attaching a pdf, jpg or similar format of the positive COVID-19 test result from a medical provider.
In our case, it took just two days for our refund request to receive a positive response:
“We've processed the refund today.
If your ticket was purchased using a credit card please allow 7 days for the credit to post to your account. For check payments, please allow sufficient time for the check delivery. You may also view the refund details using the Check Refund Status link below and enter the 13-digit ticket number or 8-digit Request ID listed above.”
We were pleased with the outcome and speed of response, and are more positively disposed towards United Airlines since we definitely prefer a refund back to our credit card over a travel credit.
If you had to cancel a flight due a positive COVID-19 test result and requested a ticket refund, did the airline grant your request?
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