Why Is Everyone So Mad at United? (New change Policy)

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. 

You may have already seen some headlines and or comments on social media where others are pretty much outraged by United Airlines. If you’ve been wondering what’s been going on here is why everyone is so worked up.


United Airlines decided to change their refund policy when it comes to refunds granted for changed United flight schedules. In the past, if United changed your flight to a time more than two hours from your original departure time, they would offer you the chance for a refund.

For example, United stated:

If you decide to no longer travel either because your original flight was canceled or you are delayed two hours or more, you can receive a refund to your original form of payment.

But recently, without notice and amid the global worry of the coronavirus, United Airlines decided to change that policy. Instead of offering a refund when they change your flight time more than two hours, they changed it to a minimum of 25 hours.

This means that your original flight time could be 7 AM on a Monday and United could change the flight schedule so that you depart 7 AM on the next Tuesday and you would not be able to get a refund until 25 hours.

(If you had a good travel rewards card with trip delay/cancellation insurance you could use that to get reimbursed for hotels and non-refundable travel expenses but that really is beside the point.)

Understandably, many people voiced their disapproval of this change. Not only is it extremely anti-customer friendly but it is being changed without notice during a time when people are already struggling to deal with travel woes and worries. 

Well, United decided to backtrack a little bit and now will at least offer you a travel credit after those two hours have passed. You will have 15 months to use it from the original ticketing date so you will have a little bit of extra breathing room as opposed to the 12 months that typically is attached to these credits.

There are still a lot of people wondering about the legality of this. The reason is that United has applied this policy retroactively to people who booked their tickets before the changes went into effect. So these new policies were not in the contract of carriage when passengers booked their tickets beforehand.

Therefore, some people are resorting to filing a charge back and disputing the charge if they are not issued a refund after two hours. I think they may have a case to be made but it still is probably a better idea to contact United Airlines first and try to work things out.

Ultimately, it’s nice to see United listen to feedback but their refund policy requiring 25 hours is still pretty insane considering where it was before and considering everything going on around the world right now. By the way, in case you need a refresher on flight delay compensation with US airlines be sure to check out my breakdown of how that works here.

UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

2 comments

  1. My complaint is that United will not completely refund on flights to the Orient especially when the cruise ship we were scheduled on was cancelled due to corona virus. They also charged for rebooking sine we will not fly to the orient because we booked far advance of our sailing date but yet they they would not charge a change fee for those who booked 30 days before they decided not to fly to the orient because I’d the virus. We would not have known that the virus would occur when booking our flight to meet our cruise date. I absolutely feel that if one was scheduled on cruise that was cancelled due to the virus we should be reimbursed for our flight or not be charged a rebooking fee.

  2. Here we go again,.first. If it is not on lock down again, go to their anti site “Untied”. Make sure you have the spelling right not United. Untied. This is a forum for past and present employees, and past and present passengers. The money they need is not because the woes me virus, it is because the management AGAIN did stock buy back’s. You would have thought an airline with combined 5 bankruptcy’s (including CAL)they would stop these practices
    They overextend them selves again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *