Hagens Berman has now sued United and Delta on behalf of those whose flights were cancelled given the novel coronavirus
Delta Air Lines is the latest defendant to be named in a class-action lawsuit seeking refunds for consumers refused ticket refund requests for flights cancelled due to the outbreak of COVID-19, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman.
The class-action law firm brought similar claims against United Airlines recently, in its suit against Delta. If an airline denied your refund request after your flight was cancelled due to the outbreak, find out more about the lawsuit and your rights.
According to the lawsuit filed Apr. 17, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division, Atlanta-based Delta has acted in deceptive and unfair manners in failing to honor ticket refunds and requests from its passengers in light of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
The suit’s named plaintiff is a Maryland resident who booked four round-trip tickets for $3,090.22, for travel from Washington Dulles to Cairo, Egypt in April 2020. Delta twice cancelled his flights, according to the lawsuit, once for the initial departure date, and once after the plaintiff rebooked the flights to an earlier date. His requests for a refund were rejected, and Delta informed him he was limited to a voucher for travel to occur within one year of his original booking date. The lawsuit states, "At the time of his ticket purchase, Plaintiff understood that he would be entitled to a refund if his flight was …Plaintiff seeks a refund because he does not know when or if he will be able to use a travel voucher."
Delta’s Changing Refund Policy
Under Delta’s Contract of Carriage, if the airline cancelled a flight or changed a flight time by more than 90 minutes, passengers could receive a full refund. However, Delta is focused on keeping passenger money through providing travel credits, not refunds. The front page of Delta’s website has a "Coronavirus Travel Updates" banner and a large red button to encourage consumers to "Change or Cancel" their flight, yet the refund request form is not referenced on Delta’s "Coronavirus Travel Updates," and is only located by searching the website specifically for the refund request form.
According to the suit, "…regardless of the method by which Delta sells its tickets, Delta has engaged in unfair, deceptive, and unjust conduct: it is refusing to issue refunds to passengers for coronavirus related flight cancellations," highlighting that with mounting cancellations, Delta tried to make it "difficult, if not impossible, for consumers to receive any refund on pandemic cancelled flights."
As the Department of Transportation advises consumers of their rights: "If your flight is cancelled and you choose to cancel your trip as a result, you are entitled to a refund for the unused transportation—even for non-refundable tickets." Yet, Delta has refused to give its customers the option of a refund, going as far as automatically issuing a travel voucher if a passenger is travelling soon, and cannot get through to a customer service representative due to high demand.
"Simply put, we find Delta’s actions in light of the pandemic utterly unacceptable," said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and attorney for consumers in the class action. "That Delta is offering time-limited vouchers during an unprecedented time of chaos and uncertainty in our nation’s history only underscores its primary focus of profits over people, and we intend to fight for their right to monetary relief. Americans are losing their sources of income at alarming rates. Vouchers just won’t cut it."
"The separation caused by COVID-19 and related protective efforts has particularly impacted travel, including air travel. Opportunity and ability to travel is flat-out eliminated for many Americans, both financially and physically," the lawsuit states. "To add to the difficulties such passengers already face, Delta refuses to issue monetary refunds to passengers with canceled flights. It does so even though all airline passengers are entitled to a refund if the airline cancels a flight, regardless of the reason the airline cancels the flight. Instead, Delta represents it will only rebook and/or provide travel vouchers."
The lawsuit against Delta seeks refunds for class members for the amount paid for airline tickets, punitive damages and an injunction directing United to issue refunds for cancelled flights.
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with nine offices across the country. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of "Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm," and MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.