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Are Avianca refundable tickets refundable?

Before you spend any extra money on a refundable ticket with Avianca, consider if Avianca refundable tickets are actually refundable. That might sound strange and convoluted, so I’ll share my multi-month journey with Avianca customer service after purchasing a refundable ticket, which I assumed (incorrectly) would be fairly straightforward.

Avianca came out of bankruptcy restructuring in late 2021. It’s definitely going through some issues. You can read about the experience of flying with Avianca in this post: “How is flying Avianca right now?

How do you get a refundable ticket with Avianca?

I was unsure about some of my travel dates so I paid a little extra to get a refundable business class ticket when booking a flight from Bogota to Medellin. I purchased an L class ticket, which Avianca’s website said was refundable.

My ticket indicated that it was an L ticket. And my receipt said that refunds and changes were permitted.

So when my travel plans changed, I figured it would be simple to get a refund…

L class Avianca ticket
L class permits refunds
Avianca ticket receipt showing refunds permitted

With all of this documentation mentioning refunds, it might seem like refunds are possible with Avianca, but interacting with airlines is a helpful way to test your mental fitness and perceptions of reality.

How do you apply for a ticket refund with Avianca?

Even with a refundable ticket, you have to go to a special webpage and apply for a refund. You can’t call customer service. I tried. They told me I had to submit a request and just wait for a month or so.

There is not even a way to cancel the ticket. So as the original date of travel approached, even though I’d submitted a request for refund, I was still receiving automated notifications about my flight.

If you want to try to get a refund from Avianca for a refundable ticket, here is the website: Avianca Refunds

So did I get a refund from Avianca? After more than a month, I hadn’t heard anything. I went back to the refund page, logged in with a filing number I originally received, and… it was listed as REJECT with a refunded amount of ZERO.

Avianca refundable ticket refund request rejected
For a refundable ticket, Avianca's refund of $0 seems low.

What do you do when Avianca rejects your refund application?

This was not totally unexpected. Did you read the post on flying with Avianca right now? But I have learned something over the years: airline customer service on social media is much more effective than airline customer service over the phone. So I tweeted that Avianca refused to refund my refundable ticket. And…

I was suddenly entitled to a refund, sorta. The customer service rep on Twitter said that I was only entitled to a credit. So if you’re shopping for Avianca tickets, understand that “refund” means a credit, in the form of what they call a “UATP card”. 

But when I went to activate this UATP card, the Avianca website wouldn’t let me. The site kept giving me an error. That was on April 17th. Over the next couple of days, they asked me a couple of times for details on the error I was receiving. I shared the screenshot a couple of times. And then nothing. I had no UATP card and the customer service rep ghosted. I last shared about the error on April 21st. I’d applied for the refund on March 7th.

I figured it was just done. I’d only continued pursuing this so I could share with other people that might be in a similar situation. And then, on May 10th, I got an email from Avianca saying I now had a UATP card I could access. I have to use it before December 2022, so in addition to not being a refund, the credit isn’t even good for a year.

Now, I hadn’t received the money in my Avianca account automatically. I still had to go through an activation process, and, expectedly, the link they sent me to instructions on how to activate the card…

was a broken link 😀

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8 thoughts on “Are Avianca refundable tickets refundable?”

  1. Pingback: How is flying Avianca right now? • The Mindful Field Guide

  2. Did you receive a refund? According to the customer service you can have the refund on your original payment method if the ticket was size L

    1. They gave me a credit to use towards another flight with Avianca, but not a refund to the original payment method, even though it was an L class ticket. Even getting the credit activated on my account required several weeks of messages back and forth with customer service.

  3. Pingback: Travelers loved Twitter. How to reach customer service when you delete it? • The Mindful Field Guide

  4. I am on the same process. Broken lines, hang ups, disconnected responses, no response, representatives pretending to hear you, etc etc. These are all tricks the company do to avoid refunding you. I purchased a size L but it turned out to be a scam as they do not respond. The option is always displayed on your website. Once you hit the button size L, you are done if you are asking for a refund. I thought I was the only 1, but I see too many complains. The company is scamming customers.

  5. I’m going thru this right now but for me the website to request a refund doesn’t even work in the first place! Mama Mia! So much for getting the L fare type. Will go visit an Avianca centre and see what they can do.

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