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Spring Branch mother struggling to get United refund for $2,300 after coronavirus ruined plans

HOUSTON – One Spring Branch woman said it has been a nightmare trying to get a refund from United Airlines.

Cindy Gardner said her family had to cancel a spring break trip due to COVID-19. She said they are at risk of losing $2,300.

"We booked a flight in February to go from Houston to Phoenix for my nephew's wedding," she said.

When coronavirus began to spread across the nation, Gardner said her heart sank.

On March 18, she said she received an email from United Airlines requesting her to rebook her flights to and from Pheonix. The revised itineraries didn't work.

With coronavirus death toll was rising, Gardner, her children, and several family members opted out of the trip.

"We went through the online process," Gardner said.

United officials promised a two-day response, which was returned after two weeks. Then, she said she received an automated response.

"It just said, 'No, there was not going to be a refund...that we could use those points or miles for another flight within a year,'" Gardner said. "I responded last week with a rebuttal to that. I have not heard a response."

She wrote a rebuttal. Another week went by; she said she called Wednesday.

"They just kind of ask you the same questions over and over. Put you on hold," Gardner said.

About 40 minutes later, she said she spoke with a United representative, who told her the request was denied because she voluntarily canceled the flight.

"I explained that it wasn't voluntary. Local, state and national authorities were telling us to stay home," Gardner said.

Gardner said the representative said the best offer was to submit her refund request. She said she is waiting again.

"I hope they do the right thing," Gardner said. "Looking at social media today, I'm not the only one."

United officials told KPRC 2 that the company had relaxed its policies when it comes to using vouchers and credits, waiving fees, and allowing people to reschedule until 2022.

To view United’s COVID Response, click here.