Q: I recently had to cancel a flight on Allegiant Air after having an accident. The airline sent me a voucher for $117.
Shortly thereafter, Allegiant announced that it was discontinuing service to our home airport, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. I’m sure I won’t be able to use this voucher.
I’ve sent Allegiant three polite emails asking for a refund, but he’s not 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 gave you a voucher for the amount of your ticket. But in late 2021, Allegiant announced it would end operations at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, citing higher costs to serve that market.
When an airline withdraws from a market, you are in a gray area when it comes to consumer protection rules. There is no obligation under DOT regulations to refund your ticket. But in practice, airlines often offer a refund when they no longer serve a destination.
Your case was a bit unusual because Allegiant did not respond to your emails. I wondered why. They were short and polite – and they spoke directly to the vice president of operations.
I think that was the problem. For inquiries like this, you’d better go through the Contact Us page at www.allegiantair.com/contactus. Only then should you have referred your case to one of the Allegiant executives on my consumer advocacy site at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/allegiant/.
Maybe the Allegiant customer service team thought you might want to head to Cincinnati, a city they still serve. Many travelers looking for a deal on a plane ticket would spend a little more time in a car, but you mentioned that a four-hour drive to the airport just wasn’t worth it the penalty. And besides, Allegiant sold you a ticket to Cleveland, not Cincinnati.
If an airline no longer flies to 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 request 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.”
Christopher Elliott is the Advocacy Director of Elliott Advocacy, a non-profit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Elliott’s latest book is “How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). Contact him at elliott.org/help or [email protected]