Many people always ask me how the process of cancellation and reimbursement works with humanitarian flights. I’ve dedicated it to all my adoptive families and other people who have questions about cancellations and returns with humanitarian flights, so I hope I can help answer them here. Some advantages of using humanitarian airplanes include the fact that these flights are refundable, less penalties and airfare, if you have to cancel the flight before the departure date. Most flights on the Internet are non-refundable, but humanitarian flights do not fall into this category.
Mission and humanitarian flights, unlike most flights, are refundable, less penalties and airfare if you have to cancel and request a refund. This is not a full refund of 100% of the cost of the flight, but they do help tremendously, as most other flights are non-refundable. There are many other benefits to using humanitarian air passes as well. Humanitarian flights can change and usually the first change after departure does not have an airline penalty, so change rates are much lower than the change from a regular flight you will find. In addition, because adoption missionaries and travel agents can only access humanitarian flights, you can also expect a much better service than using an online travel engine to buy your flights.
The process of canceling humanitarian and missionary flights can take approximately six weeks before you see the refund applied to your credit card. However, many people notice that their refunds appear about two or three weeks after the cancellation has been processed with the airline. There will always be several charges and credits with any such refund, and many times you will need to add the costs and credits that should match up to the amount that was required on your return.
Sometimes an adoptive family will have to cancel only the return portion of their flight for various reasons and re-book with another airline later. It is a case when the family would be very grateful to have humanitarian flights versus published flights. Humanitarian flights are refundable, even for the return portion. It is always a partial refund, less penalties and airfare fees, but it still helps tremendously to preserve some of the losses that would otherwise occur.
Generally, families who use humanitarian flights, especially for adoption trips, are very happy with them if they have to make changes to the return date. Sometimes there are unpredictable circumstances that make families forced to cancel their flights for adoption, and when these things happen, they are always very grateful that they have used humanitarian flights instead of anything they could have booked for their account.
I hope this helps answer some of your questions.
Tabitha Lovell, International Travel Manager