DEAR TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER: I recently booked a vacation package online through Icelandair Holidays. Two months later, I received a text that my airport had been changed from Baltimore/Washington International Airport to Washington Dulles.
I realized that traveling to Dulles would be inconvenient, because it is a two-hour drive from my home in Baltimore, while BWI is only 25 minutes away. Using a cab or car service would incur extra expenses, so I wanted to discuss options with Icelandair Holidays.
Much to my consternation, I could not find a phone number, email or live chat to assist. The website instructions led me to a customer support form. I completed the form and requested a refund. I received an autoreply.
No one from Icelandair Holidays has responded. I have not received a refund to my credit card. The lack of response from Icelandair Holidays is frustrating and unacceptable. Can you help me get my $2,972 back?
— Patricia Boyle, Baltimore
ANSWER: Icelandair Holidays should have responded to you and helped you figure out what to do. But a refund? I’m not sure about that.
Icelandair Holidays’ terms and conditions address itinerary changes. It says if the company makes “a major change” to your travel arrangements, it will give you the choice of accepting the new itinerary or canceling and receiving a full refund. However, “this doesn’t apply for minor changes.”
So I guess the question is, was this a major change?
I say it is. It’s a 56-mile drive from BWI to Dulles, but getting there in Washington’s infamous traffic can take a while. If you planned to take a cab to the airport, it would cost a lot more than getting to BWI. Icelandair Holidays should have offered to cover the cost difference — that is, if it had responded.
When a company gives you the cold shoulder, you have options. You can usually call, reach out on social media or contact one of its executives. I publish the names, numbers and email addresses of Icelandair’s customer service managers on my consumer advocacy site. A polite email to one of them might have fixed this.
Whether you have a case or not, there’s no excuse for ignoring you. I contacted Icelandair on your behalf to find out if your change was major or minor.
“We are sorry to hear this was so complicated for Mrs. Boyle,” an Icelandair representative told me. “I’m not sure how this slipped through the cracks, but I have been advised she has now been contacted and given a full refund. We have also notified Icelandair Holidays and our website team to hopefully prevent similar complications for other customers.”
That’s my favorite kind of resolution — a refund and a fix.
Christopher Elliott is the founder of ElliottAdvocacy.org, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or get help by contacting him at elliottadvocacy.org/help/. (c) 2023 Christopher Elliott Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.