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Federal rules for flight refunds apply when foreign airlines takeoff or land in the US

Tampa Bay area couple waited nearly a year for a refund
Florida couple
Posted at 5:59 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 20:07:56-04

PASCO COUNTY — Stephen Ryan turned 60 in 2020. His wife Sheryl booked a bucket list trip to Europe to celebrate. “Instead of throwing a party why don't we go with our friends and go to Europe,” Sheryl said.

They were set to take off last May but the pandemic grounded travel to Europe including the $2,200 flight the Ryans and another couple booked on TAP Air Portugal.

Sheryl told ABC Action News the foursome had no trouble getting refunds for the AirBnB and cruise line, everything but the airfare.

The two couples say they filed refund request forms online with TAP Air Portugal in May 2020. “They said, ‘this can take a while please be patient. This could take 6 to 8 weeks,’ ” Sheryl said.

But by February of 2021 the group had not received any of their money back.

The U-S Department of Transportation regulates foreign airlines for all flights that either take off or land in the US. It’s website states: “A passenger is entitled to a refund if the airline canceled a flight, regardless of the reason, and the passenger chooses not to travel."

Sheryl made a Call for Action after waiting 10 months to get their money back. ABC Action News sent multiple emails to the airline in January and February without a response.

“All of a sudden on March 19th the money shows up back on the credit card,” Sheryl said.

For anyone dealing with a flight refund issue, there are resources. You can file a dispute with your credit card company and try filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau at and The US Department of Transportation.