How to get airline refunds following winter storm

ABC7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The ABC7 I-Team is finding out how you can get airline refunds after Monday's winter storm put a halt to holiday travel.

You may be able to get money back in your pocket after 1,700 flights in and out of Chicago's airports were canceled on Monday. Days later, there are people stranded who are still trying to get re-booked.

If this happens to you, the I-Team found that you should be able to recoup some of your financial losses.

It was the perfect storm that hit at the peak of holiday travel. The problem? Airlines couldn't re-book thousands of people whose flights were canceled because future flights were already full.

On Monday, when American Airlines told me it would take more than two days to re-book me from Cleveland to Chicago, I decided to pay more than $200 to rent a car one-way and ditch my return flight.

But here's what you may not know. I was able to request a refund online for the portion of the flight I didn't take. I found out after asking, and that one question could end up putting anywhere from $100-$200 back on my credit card.

Most airlines, including American and United, have policies that will allow refunds if you don't take a flight or a portion of the flight if the airline has already canceled or excessively delayed it due to weather or mechanical issues.

United Airlines said if your flight is delayed more than two hours, they'll waive that change fee so you can reschedule the entire trip when it works for you. And if you are temporarily stuck in a connecting city, United can re-book you back to your city of origin and you can receive a travel credit.

Airlines do not cover expenses - including car rentals or hotels - if there is a weather issue. But if you decided to rent a car, like me, and you officially cancel your return flight, you can at least recoup some of the cost.

Airline agents may not always tell you, so you have to ask.
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