0

Months after booking travel, an officer of an international airline sent me an email (XXX Response to COVID-19) stating, "If passengers decide to cancel altogether, the tickets can be voided at no cost for a full refund." This contradicts the original Ts&Cs and the website information however due to the pandemic and the special circumstances, I assumed that this letter(email) from a Senior Vice President, The Americas, takes precedence over older/pre-printed(website) Ts&Cs.

Due to the COVID-19 travel uncertainty, I decided to cancel. When I went to the website, it indicated that there would be a cancellation fee however, they showed an example that if you cancelled in less than 48 hours after booking that the fee would be indicated on the paperwork however you would be refunded the fees also. I assumed that the website hadn't caught up to this special circumstances and that the actual refund amount would be for 100% of what I paid. I cancelled the tickets however when I received the refund, the fees were taken out. I believe a reasonable person would expect the phrase, "no cost for a full refund" to mean that they would be receiving 100% of their money back.

1) Does the email with new Ts&Cs supersede the original Ts&Cs when booking the ticket and/or website cancellation Ts&Cs? 2) Should I receive the full purchase price?

Thank you and best regards, Robert

1

Does the email with new Ts&Cs supersede the original Ts&Cs when booking the ticket and/or website cancellation Ts&Cs?

Yes. The email originates from the same entity that drafted the adhesion contract, i.e., the T&Cs of the ticket(s). Although the website did not seem up-to-date when you sought to cancel the tickets, the draftman's inconsistent statements triggers the doctrine of contra proferentem, thereby favoring your position.

Should I receive the full purchase price?

Yes. The most reasonable interpretation of the statement ("If passengers decide to cancel altogether, the tickets can be voided at no cost for a full refund") is that the customer who cancels the ticket(s) is entitled to a full refund. Full refund means reimbursement of the exact same amount the customer paid for the tickets. Accordingly, you might want to ask the airline to honor the VP's message. If that fails, you would need to file a complaint in the consumer protection agency of your jurisdiction.

The term "cancel altogether" in the VP's email suggests that the airline may charge cancellation fees only if the customer cancels less than the entirety of the trip, such as having purchased airfares for a round trip and now making a cancellation that would render this a one-way ticket. My understanding of your description is that you cancelled all airfares of that trip that were pending.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Thank you Mr. Viggers, I greatly appreciate the time and effort you put in to answer my question! – Robert Jun 5 at 23:01
1

1) Does the email with new Ts&Cs supersede the original Ts&Cs when booking the ticket and/or website cancellation Ts&Cs?

Not exactly.

Technically, the email represents an offer from the airline to vary the existing contract which is open to acceptance by each of its customer’s cancelling their flight.

Contracts can only be varied in whatever ways might be spelled out in them or by another contract which is what we have here.

2) Should I receive the full purchase price

Yes.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.