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Tulsa couple struggles to get money back for cruise trip canceled by pandemic

Posted at 4:28 PM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 12:18:58-04

TULSA, Okla. — With the pandemic disrupting so many travel plans, many airlines, hotels and cruise lines eased their cancellation policies, giving out refunds instead of just credits.

However, the 2 News Oklahoma Problem Solvers found that didn't help a Tulsa couple after COVID-19 put a wrench in their plans.

After being cooped up by the pandemic for so long, the Allens, like so many others, finally decided it was time to venture out on a vacation -- an overseas cruise since prices were so reasonable.

JoAnn said she turned to Priceline to buy their plane tickets. "I've never been displeased by them, although I've never had to cancel a flight, or reschedule a flight."

This time she found out she would have to cancel after their cruise line pulled the plug on the trip, and the road to a refund from Priceline was a bumpy one.

"Their customer service is nonexistent, they don't talk to you, they just give you the runaround," she said.

It surprised her since she's used Priceline before, knowing it's been doing business for years.

"I have found that their prices are good, but it's not worth it."

JoAnn's change of heart came about after she received an email confirmation from the airline that it sent Priceline a refund for their two plane tickets of nearly $1,800.

"United Airlines sent them our money and they're holding it, they won't even acknowledge they're holding it, they won't even communicate with us," she said.

She said dozens of attempts to talk or chat with a live Priceline agent, by phone, by email, and by text got her nowhere. Every time she said she was connected to a recording about their reservations, it said they were still confirmed on the flights, even though the airline had canceled them.

"I've almost become obsessed by it, I know I shouldn't, but it's drug on now for a long time, about a month," JoAnn said.

Part of her obsession was believing if it was happening to her, it was happening to others too, she says.

So 2 News got in touch with Priceline about JoAnn's refund. We never received details about the delay, but after our inquiry the Allens got their $1,800.

Next time, JoAnn says she'll buy her tickets directly from the airline, even if it costs a little bit more.

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