After Michael Kennedy cancels his Sun Country Airlines ticket, he expects a full refund. That’s because he canceled the flight within 24 hours. But the airline says “no.” Now he wants to know if he can get a Sun Country Airlines ticket refund within 24 hours — or not.
I bought a ticket on Sun Country Airlines for $272 and then canceled the flight 16 hours later. I made the purchase over seven days (168 hours) prior to the scheduled flight, so it fully complied with the 24-hour cancellation policy on the Suncountry.com website.
But the online cancellation said I would be charged $200 for the cancelation and the balance would be held as an electronic credit for up to one year. That’s not right. The cancelation policy states that a 24-hour cancelation will not have a penalty.
So I called Sun Country Airlines. A representative told me that I complied with the terms of the 24-hour policy so the $200 would be corrected to an electronic credit as well, but they would not issue a refund to my credit card.
I have since sent in a complaint on Sun Country’s web form and have disputed this charge on my credit card. After seven days, I have yet to hear from either party that this has been addressed at all, so I would appreciate help with this matter. I view an electronic credit that is only good for one year as a penalty. There is a reasonable chance it could expire since I do not know if I will be using Sun Country for future travel. Can you help me? — Michael Kennedy, Bloomington, Minn.
The 24-hour policy isn’t Sun Country’s rule. It’s a Department of Transportation rule that Sun Country, and all other airlines, must follow.
But did Sun Country do the right thing?
The rule requires air carriers to allow you to cancel your reservation and receive a full refund without a penalty. It applies to all airline tickets purchased at least seven days before a flight’s scheduled departure date and time.
You met those criteria. But when you canceled, there were fewer than 168 hours (7 days) before the flight. So does the 24-hour rule apply — or not?
Sun Country is going to interpret this rule to its advantage. So, even though you purchased with more than seven days, you did not cancel with more than seven days remaining. The company would apply a change fee to your ticket credit. Why? Because it can.
Airlines hate the 24-hour rule. Before the rule, they could keep your money as soon as you pushed the “book” button — no exceptions. Then the government came along and told them they couldn’t. So, of course, they’re going to find any loophole they can.
How to get a Sun Country Airlines ticket refund within 24 hours
You could have reached out to one of the Sun Country executive contacts for a second opinion on this. I publish their names, numbers, and emails on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org.
I contacted Sun Country on your behalf. In response, it sent you an email that explains while you made your booking seven days prior to departure, you canceled after the 168-hour cut-off for your flight departure time. “The booking did not qualify for a refund without penalty,” the airline added.
However, as a one-time exception, Sun Country authorized a full refund. It also promised to make sure the policy on its site is “made clearer in the future.” That should benefit other passengers. And maybe the Department of Transportation can weigh in on this issue, too. I suspect you aren’t the first person to get stuck with an unwanted ticket credit, and I know you won’t be the last.