7 On Your Side gets money back for mourning family after flight cancelation fiasco

Nina Pineda Image
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
7 On Your Side gets money back for mourning family after flight fiasco
Niina Pineda has more on the family's reaction

MONROE, New Jersey (WABC) -- Flight search engines can be helpful to quickly book flights - but when plans change, they require extra hoops to jump through when it comes to canceling and getting a refund.

Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side helped a family from Middlesex County that needed help after a death in the family led to a year of back and forth between their airline and the booking site they used.

Nina Pineda has the story on flight refunds.

The O'Scannell family was devastated to lose their grandfather, Vincenzo Campora, when he died while cooking last Mother's Day.

"Italian families we don't celebrate for a year, we keep the black on," Lucia O'Scannell said.

It had been years filled with family grief. For Shannon O'Scannell, it was the loss of her grandmother three years ago, followed by her dad Rory a year later, then her nonno last May.

That meant she needed to cancel a trip to Florida for a family wedding. She booked her ticket through Booking.com but they told her the ticket was nonrefundable.

So she reached out to United Airlines to tell them there was a death in the family.

Most airlines give breaks on bereavement and Shannon spent over $1,800 on three round-trip tickets.

After sending her grandfather's death certificate and obituary, United graciously granted the refund that was approved last July.

But ever since last summer, she has been waiting for the money and going back and forth calling United and getting the runaround.

Booking.com said it didn't get the refund from the airline, but United provided proof of the approved ticket refunds and proof that the check was cashed.

"Nothing can bring my dad back," Shannon said. "It's a heartache to be calling all these months."

Shannon's dad Rory was a big fan of 7 On Your Side so the family decided to call Nina Pineda for help.

We contacted the airline and the booking site and were able to surprise Shannon and the family with their refund.

Booking.com told 7 On Your Side in part:

"We are sorry for the delay that this customer experienced in obtaining a refund for their canceled flight... we are happy to share that the guest has been refunded the total amount of their reservation."

After almost a year, they got their money back -- less the cost of trip insurance - deposited back into their account.

The big takeaways:

Always review the terms and consider travel insurance for trips. In addition to bereavement coverage you can protect your purchase if you have to cancel due to illness, natural disaster, and even flight issues.

Keep in mind online agencies are excellent for research and sometimes they will have great packages. But they do not always show you every fare combination or route and they may only show you tickets which have preferred relationships.

And some airlines even charge a fee when you make changes if you didn't book directly.

ALSO READ | 7 On Your Side helps solve FEMA flood insurance mix-up for New Jersey homeowner

7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda helps one homeowner after his flood insurance claim was mistakenly denied.



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