United Air Is Sued by Passenger for Refusing to Refund Fare

United Airlines Holdings Inc. was sued by a passenger for refusing to issue refunds for canceled flights, three days after U.S. regulators ordered airlines to reimburse customers.

The passenger, Jacob Rudolph, filed the suit in federal court in Chicago on Monday, saying he was denied a refund request for three plane tickets he purchased in January to travel to Minneapolis/St. Paul from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, on April 4.

“United has engaged in unfair and deceptive conduct through its policy to issue refunds, limiting and forcing customers into a rebooked flight or travel voucher instead of returning their money,” Rudolph said in his suit, which seeks class-action status.

Airline passengers throughout the U.S. are increasingly taking to social media to air their frustration at not being able to get refunds for trips canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday reminded carriers that they are required to reimburse fliers for fares and fees.

How dare you refuse refunds. Wedding cancelled in Hawaii end of month due to Covid. I won’t be able go for reschedule date due to financial hardship. I bought travel insurance but they won’t honor for pandemic. Shame on you United. I don’t want the credit!

Rudolph said he was denied a refund for the more than $1,500 he spent on the tickets and told he could rebook the flights or receive a credit for travel within a year of the original travel date.

United spokeswoman Leslie Scott declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying the company hadn’t been served yet. The airline has put new policies in place since the emergence of the virus to give customers “flexibility” by allowing them to change travel plans without a fee, such as by rebooking or receiving a credit for future travel, she said.

Eligible passengers can request a refund “if their flights have been severely adjusted or service to their destination suspended either due to government mandates or United schedule reductions related to Covid-19,” Scott said, referring to the disease caused by the virus. “We are proud of the role our company and our employees play during this crisis and continue to operate to nearly every domestic destination as well as six international markets across the globe, including our partner hubs.”

About the photo: A United Airlines plane departs Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia on April 6. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg