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My girlfriend has purchased a ticket via Flighthub.ca in March.

The flight route is Toronto -> Istanbul -> Tirana.

Due to yesterday's terror attack on Istanbul's airport, Ataturk, my girlfriend doesn't feel safe to go to Tirana via Turkey anymore due to potential risk. The flight is scheduled for August.

I tried reading Flighthub's terms, but it doesn't mention anything regarding this issue. The underlying tickets purchased via Flighthub are from Turkish Airlines.

Is there a way to cancel this flight with a full refund or at least change the route without additional payment? This is a matter of security, so could this be considered?


EDIT

This is the purchase summary

Purchase Summary Airfare: $771.06 CAD Taxes & Fees: $503.14 CAD

If she completely cancels her flight, can she get those taxes back? How long does a tax refund take?

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    Your girlfriend's reaction is natural, but irrational. Istanbul's airport will for some time have very strict security, meaning it's going to be one of the safest options around. Also, today's attack was in the unsecured check-in area, not in the secure transit area. – jpatokal Jun 29 '16 at 10:38
  • Taxes are usually refundable, although sometimes with a service charge. However, you'll find that most of the "taxes and fees" is the YR surcharge which is non-refundable. On a similar fare that accounts for CAD$410 of the CAD$5xx of "taxes and fees" – Berwyn Jun 29 '16 at 18:24
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Turkish Airlines published a notice on their website regarding this very issue. Unfortunately the link is currently down (probably due to the large load), but here is a cached copy:

enter image description here

Dear Passengers,
Due to the incident that has taken place at Ataturk International Airport on 28 June 2016, passengers who have bookings on the flights from/to and connected Istanbul Ataturk Airport between 28 Jun - 05 Jul 2016, provided that they submit their request until 31 Jul 2016:

1) All rebooking and rerouting will be made without any charge.

2) Refund requests :
a) Unused tickets: Refund will be made without any charge; or
b) For partially used tickets, when planned trip is not complete; the remaining flights will be refunded without any charge.

3) Extension of ticket validity :

Validity of ticket can be extended until 31 Jul 2016 (included) without any fare difference or charge. We kindly ask our passengers to check the latest information about their flights before their trip on our web site or call center. (90 212 444 0 849)
Regards

Turkish Airlines

Unfortunately this does not apply to you as you are traveling in August. Even if it did apply in your situation, you would have a difficult time getting any recourse from Turkish Airlines as the ticket was purchased through a third party.

Thus, your only recourse is to ask flighthub.ca for a refund, and here is what they have to say about it:

The majority of airline reservations booked in economy class are non-refundable and non exchangeable. In some cases an airline may issue a credit voucher in lieu of a cash refund, which can be used for future travel with that airline. Please be aware that these vouchers are usually valid for one year from the date the original ticket was issued.

In the event where the ticket you purchased is refundable it will be subject to penalties imposed by the airline as well as a processing fee by FlightHub. Any cancellations will be handled on the day the request was made. Please note that any refunds can take as long as 6 weeks to appear on your credit card statement.

  • Are you saying I can't have the airport taxes refunded either? That's almost $800 right there! – Aborted Jun 29 '16 at 11:09
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    Taxes are almost always non-refundable. – Burhan Khalid Jun 29 '16 at 11:11
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    This discussion travel.stackexchange.com/questions/26987/… indicates that you can get refund of airport taxes if you don't actually go into the plane. – audionuma Jun 29 '16 at 16:58
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I had a somewhat similar experience, specifically with FlightHub, a couple of years ago. I bought a ticket on a small Russian airline from Russia to Israel, and that flight was later cancelled by the airline due to security concerns (rocket attacks from the Gaza strip). According to the airline website, they were issuing refunds. I expected a refund right away, but I was wrong.

FlightHub did absolutely nothing to issue the refund proactively. Whenever I called (often with over 30 minute wait times), they tried to call the airline with me on the line (more wait time), unsuccessfully every time. They seemed completely unwilling to do anything "offline" - they were only trying to deal with the issue when I was on the phone (despite promising to do so), forgetting about it as soon as I hung up. Out of all the callbacks promised to me, I was called back exactly zero times. I tried calling the airline myself, but the airline could only issue a refund at the request of FlightHub and not to me directly.

I finally decided I've had enough and filed a credit card chargeback, attaching all relevant information including a screenshot of the airline website (stating clearly that refunds would be issued for cancelled flights). This was quickly resolved in my favor.

Thus, when dealing with FlightHub refunds (assuming that you're actually entitled to a refund according to the airline rules), I would advise calling them a couple of times and giving them the chance to do the right thing, but if it doesn't help - don't waste your time and use the credit card route (or complain to industry associations, etc., if you didn't use a credit card).

  • How much did it take them to process the chargeback and refund the money? – Aborted Jun 29 '16 at 14:44
  • On an American card, the chargeback should be immediate and the burden of proof goes to the merchant. – Andrew Lazarus Jun 29 '16 at 16:20
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    You can't do a chargeback for "don't want to fly any more". A cancellation is not a comparable case. – Berwyn Jun 29 '16 at 18:26
  • Yes, I did say "assuming that you're actually entitled to a refund according to the airline rules" - of course you can't do a chargeback on a whim. In fact, it seems that credit card companies are especially strict when it comes to airfare-related chargebacks, but in my case I was clearly entitled to the money (since the flight I paid for did not actually take place!). And yes, refund is immediate (but if you loose the chargeback case it will go back onto your credit card bill later on). – Eugene O Jun 29 '16 at 18:53

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