purchased a ticket from priceline.com for my daughter, which
turned out to be with Sabena. She traveled to the U.K. in October
and was due back to the U.S. in December.
Sabena is gone, and there is a deafening silence from anyone
(including Priceline) who can advise how we get a refund for the
unused portion. We have made alternative arrangements to safeguard
travel, but I want the money back. How do I go about claiming for
the unused portion? Also, the purchase was made with a Visa debit
card. Is there any guarantee with this?
Downers Grove, IL
What are the options when you have an international ticket
purchased from Sabena airlines, which has now become bankrupt? We
work with students traveling from various countries to study
abroad and do have a situation where it is affecting one of our
scholars return home in July. Your response would be greatly
San Diego, CA
Dear Kelly and Ian,
Sabena, Belgium's state-subsidized
national carrier, filed for bankruptcy in November. The airline is
currently grounded and is hoping to resurrect its regional airline
subsidiary Delta Air Transport (DAT)—no relation to Delta Air Lines.
However, the matter is tied up in the Belgian courts, and it looks
doubtful for Sabena's return to the skies—ever. Sabena said measures
have been taken to cover ticket refunds, but it referred customers to its
agents for more information.
If an airline goes out of business, the bad news is passengers are not
guaranteed any refund by the airline. Airlines are like any other
businesses that go into bankruptcy, and if you dealt directly with them
and paid by cash or debit card, you become an unsecured creditor. Your
only option is to join the long list of creditors, and hope at some time
to see some of your money refunded.
If, however, you paid by credit card and spent more than $50, the good
news is you are covered through the Fair Credit Billing Act. It's then up
to the credit card company to action a retail dispute on your behalf. It
could take up to six weeks but you should definitely see a refund on your
card. In addition, travelers who bought their tickets through a travel
agent have more protection since agents can file a claim with Airlines
Reporting Corporation (ARC) within the specified reporting date to receive
their client's refund.
With growing global concern over the future of many airlines, I highly
recommend that students traveling abroad to deal with experienced and
reputable student travel agencies such as STA Student Travel, and Student
Universe. That way, if something happens while they are traveling,
they have someone who is there to help them.
I hope I've been helpful. Happy travels!
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