UPDATE: I went ahead and called United to make sure 1) this wasn’t a mistake, given how far away my trip is (last week of July) and 2) if it was true, to see about a refund. It was not a mistake. Canceled due to market restrictions. I am happy to report that I had zero wait time, a very courteous, knowledgeable and efficient rep and he suggested a refund before I even asked. I did buy travel insurance for this trip (first time ever) on the chance this would happen, so that may have helped things along. I booked through Travelocity, so they will ultimately be the ones issuing my refund since they hang onto the money until travel starts. I learned a lot today on that call with United. Estimated refund time is 2-4 weeks from United, possibly longer because I went through Travelocity and that adds an extra step. Just in case anyone else is in the same boat – this is what to expect. I will cancel the rest of my reservations today or early this week. That interaction was painless aside from the disappointment – I am glad I was wrong in the post below, and I take back what I said about United sucking in this respect. Oh, and they did not leave my Newark flight on the books; the cancellation email details were badly-worded/misleading.
Last night around midnight I received an email from Travelocity stating that United Airlines has canceled my flight to Iceland and I have “airline credits” available. They left me the domestic roundtrip to Newark, though, because everyone wants to vacation in Newark, NJ for two weeks.
“No need to call us.”
I have not taken any action yet. I’m still thinking on what to do. I have been reading up on how to get actual refunds back instead of credit, and it seems United in particular is making it exceedingly difficult to get your money back “because they need it.” Well so do I and it’s my money. Reason #5 why I hate United Airlines. I’ll talk about the other 4 in another post sometime.
The DOT had to issue an enforcement letter stating the law about refunds when a flight is canceled or significantly changed because so many people are filing complaints against airlines for refusing to do so in the middle of a pandemic.
So far I’ve only gotten the email from Travelocity. United has not contacted me directly. I fear this will entail spending half a day on hold trying to get a human customer service rep to then argue with and get transferred around until hopefully someone will press the right button to issue a refund.
This is so disappointing. It means so many cancellations now – my stays, my flights within Iceland, my tour to Grimsey Island. My rental cars. Everything. Fuck.
I have a backup plan like I mentioned, but it doesn’t involve going to Iceland this year – it involves going somewhere closer with a drastically different climate. I am not decided on this plan, still entertaining other options, but it looks like a likely alternative.
I had a great Iceland trip planned, I really did. It was going to be amazing. Staying on an Icelandic pony ranch outside Akureyri, kayaking at the mouth of the North Atlantic to look for whales, flights to Greenland, Highlands hiking, camping in the Westfjords, roaming the craters, lakes, hot springs and waterfalls scattered across the north. Getting to see the Circle Air pilots again and hang out with them at 10,000 feet. Visiting my favorite bookstore in Akureyri. I was excited about finally seeing some puffins and arctic foxes, and crossing the Arctic circle. Getting to see all of the places & things I missed last time because I only had two days in the north. I was so looking forward to this. It was my light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, the main thing keeping me calm and hopeful (“this is difficult but at least I have Iceland in July “) COVID 19 has snuffed it.
This is a major bummer.
Will post another update when I know something re: United. In the meantime, I’m researching alternate trips and postponing my other Iceland cancellations because then it will be real.