The Flight Cancellation Naughty & Nice List

The Flight Cancellation Naughty & Nice List

First of all, thank you all for the very unexpected level of interest in the status of our trip to Europe, and all the money and points we had invested in that. I’m sincerely flattered that you care so much!

It will come as no shock that we are not in Spain as I type this.

We did end up taking a nice little family vacation (responsibly masked and distanced, of course) with the time we reserved for Europe. But that’s a post for another time.

Here’s the breakdown of who cancelled what (in order of when we were supposed to travel with them – all reservations were for 4 people) and how strenuously we had to fight for our money back, which relates directly to whether they land on the Official 2020 Airline Naughty or Nice List:

United Air

Flagstaff to Chicago: $764.70 and 24.5k United miles

Cancelled by: Me.

Refund process: One phone call, got all points redeposited and e-vouchers for the money spent, good for 24 months. No change or cancellation fees.

List status: Nice.

British Air

Chicago to London: $1,014.80 and 104k Avios

Cancelled by: Me.

Refund process: One phone call, got all points redeposited immediately and all cash refunded minus a $200 cancellation fee, per the regular policy when you pay with Avios. Customer service was very polite, but I feel like waiving the cancellation fee would have been appropriate.

List status: Mostly Nice.


London to Paris: $360.00

Cancelled by: Me.

Refund process: Absolutely impossible to get anyone on the phone. Website kept implying that we could/should just take the train ride, despite Paris not allowing Americans to visit. Eventually got a voucher that I will probably never be able to use, especially since it is only good for 12 months and Paris still has no plans to let Americans in (not that I necessarily blame them).

List status: Mostly Naughty.

Air France

Paris to Porto: $738.12.

Cancelled by: Them, but they claimed it was me.

Refund process: Multiple phone calls, over an hour on the phone with some poor employee who either could not or would not locate a supervisor. Air France claimed they removed my reservation at my request (false) and that I could still take the flight if I wanted to (false, since I couldn’t physically get to France), and tried repeatedly to keep my money and then later on to give me a voucher. After sending them multiple screen shots of their own website and reading them most of the Covid19 section on the Federal Trade Commission website, I got a full refund.

List status: Very Naughty.

Air Lingus

Santiago de Compostela to Dublin: $349.92 and ~34.4k Capitol One points.

Cancelled by: Them.

Refund process: Super easy refund form on the website. Refunded in full.

List status: Nice.

Iceland Air

Dublin to Reykjavik to Chicago (Included a 5-day layover in Iceland): $36.20 and ~400.7k Capitol One points.

Cancelled by: Them. This was after a lengthy game of chicken during which they tried to claim the flight was happening, even though Iceland Air long ago declared they were going to cancel flights to the US during this time period. They briefly tried to get me to take a voucher before they cancelled.

Refund process: Filled out two refund forms on the website. Refunded in full.

List status: Mostly Nice.

Southwest Air

Chicago to Denver: $485.94

Cancelled by: Me.

Refund process: One phone call, full refund.

List status: Nice, as always. SWA is also one of very few airlines currently selling at 2/3 capacity so all middle seats can stay empty. Way to be awesome, Southwest. This is why a SWA wing gets to be in the banner photo.

United Air (again)

Denver to Everett: $346.20

Cancelled by: Them. Everett airport is closed indefinitely.

Refund process: One phone call, got a full refund.

List status: Nice.

American Air

Seattle to Flagstaff: $184.80 and 75k AA miles.

Cancelled by: Me.

Refund process: One phone call, got all points redeposited immediately and vouchers for the cash payments, good through the end of 2021.

List status: Nice.

The Summary

The US-based airlines that so often get a bad rap for customer service (United, American) were by far easier to get our money and points back from than I expected. Southwest takes the cake yet again for customer service, and Aer Lingus wins an honorable mention because they didn’t play games with their cancellations and their website isn’t garbage. Air France and Eurostar win nothing and get coal for Christmas.

Honestly though, these cancellations have been the least of our worries during this crazy season. Delays, cancellations, disruptions, wasted time and wasted money – it’s all just part of travel. And life, actually. Hopefully we’ve handled it with a decent amount of grace this time around, minus the lecture I gave the Air France guy about FTC policies.

If you’ve had your own experience cancelling travel or having it cancelled for you this summer, I’d love to hear about it – leave a comment!

Making the best of the summer break we never planned.


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10 Replies to “The Flight Cancellation Naughty & Nice List”

    1. Thank you for your comment Anna, and so sorry about Belize. 🙁 Fingers crossed we’ll be able to start planning some travel abroad soon!

  1. We were supposed to be on an Alaskan cruise this entire week! We cancelled through an online form. Got our money back 3 full months later but we got it all.

    1. Glad to hear you (finally) got your money back! I’ve heard of people really struggling to get $ back from cruise lines. Alaska was on our wish list for this year too, but we’re going to hold off. Maybe in 2021! Thanks for reading and commenting, Elena! 😀

    1. Haha thank you! Travel mishaps are one of those things where you have to laugh to keep from crying. 😀

  2. Like!! I blog frequently too, and I really enjoy your content. This article was great!

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