a plane on a runway

Think you’ll get a refund from Delta? Ha!

Later this summer I’ll be travelling to South America. My trip is a rather complex hodgepodge of flights, one of those tickets being booked as a (rather expensive) refundable ticket on Delta. I booked this ticket as a “last chance” option, hoping for award availability to appear. Fortunately, it did a appear, booked it, and I cancelled and refunded my Delta ticket online.

In the course of cancelling my Delta ticket, I received a confirmation both on the website and in my email. The reservation dropped from ‘My Trips’ on my Skymiles account. I even had confirmation codes:

a close up of a ticket


Notice the statement: “You’ve successfully cancelled your trip. The credit card used to purchase your ticket has been credited the full purchase price.” I thought, rather legitimately, that the trip was cancelled and the refund processed. Days go by and there’s no refund. I thought that was weird since I usually get refunds from Delta within 2-3 days. I contacted Delta asking for confirmation of the ticket cancellation/refund. To my surprise, I was told that the reservation was active and uncancelled. Wow! The agent quickly cancelled it and I received two refund emails, one for each ticket.

Had I waited for Delta’s stated “one billing cycle” for a refund, I would have likely missed the flights on my active reservation, and getting a refund after having no-showed would have been a nightmare. Even with a confirmed refund email, how in the world would have I convinced Delta that there was a refund error?

Delta’s website isn’t great when it comes to refunds, such as automatically applying a Skymiles redeposit fee even if a ticket is within the 24-refund window. While resolved, my situation here could have been significant, with me fighting for a refund after no-showing on an active reservation. The message is clear though: check to confirm your reservation was actually cancelled and refunded if you processed that cancellation online.


  1. I had an almost identical experience with an AC Latitude booking. No clear explanation was offered by the phone agent, who preferred to stick to the happy narrative about how he had no problem “requesting” the refund for me. AC’s website clearly says that if you book a refundable fare and cancel, the refund process begins automatically. This is simply not true. On some planes of existence, this is known as a lie.

  2. I purchased two first class tickets in October 2017 for travel in January 2018. I had to cancel the trip and Delta issued me ecredits, BUT the expiration date of the ecredits in October 2018 which is a tear from the original purchase date not original travel date. Due to the nature of our business we travel in January. I tried to use the ecredit for travel on the same route in the same class of service for date that were less the one year of original travel and the refused me, stating the ecredits expire in October 2018, a year form the purchase date.

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