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US Airways Reluctantly Does The Right Thing – Gives Terminal Cancer Patient Refund

After Lynn McKain was cleared of stage 4 cancer Lynn and her family booked a dream vacation to Belize with US Airways in January 2012. Her doctor has cancelled the trip because she is re diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and US Airways is refusing to refund $4,200 to the family.

US Airways response was “Unfortunately, we do not offer refunds on non-refundable tickets, but we’ll work with her to waive her change fees and make sure she can use her ticket at another time.”

Really US Airways, what good will a future travel voucher do for a terminally ill patient?

This comes on the heels of US Airways forcing a man to stand for over 7 hours on a flight from Anchorage to Philadelphia.


After the story aired on 9 New Now, US Airways changed its decision and will provide the McKain family a $4,200 refund.

Bottom Line

The family did book non-refundable tickets and US Airways has a policy. US Airways could have avoided the negative publicity by just doing the right thing in the first place.

About the Author

About the author: The Weekly Flyer is writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • LufthansaFlyer November 30, 2011, 9:34 pm

    Glad to hear.

  • Mike November 30, 2011, 10:09 pm

    Its too bad that the person is ill but rules are rules. We all have to follow it.

  • andrew December 1, 2011, 1:12 am

    Rules are not laws, and can be flexible on a case by case basis. Good decision on U.S. Airways part, if a little delayed.

  • Andy December 1, 2011, 1:26 am

    Ethically, US Airways should refund the ticket. However, the woman already knows that she has cancer and even though the doctor say ok there is a possibility she cannot go. She should have bought insurance which was offered to her when she bought the ticket. That could have saved all the trouble

  • Jimgotkp December 1, 2011, 7:35 am

    I think this is be a topic that will be debated for a while since it’s regarding ethics…

  • Steve Kalman December 1, 2011, 7:38 am

    They caved in to media pressure; they did not do the “right thing”

    Whenever we buy non-refundable tix and then decline insurance, we are assuming the risk. That’s what they did.

    USair would have applied the money to a new ticket for a year from purchase date. Since this was a holiday vacation, the airline could have given them an extra few months as a good will gesture.

    This is just feel good stuff that rewards people who take a chance, lose, then want someone else to bear the costs.

    The fact that one of the pax has a terminal disease is sad for her and her family and makes a media xmas story, but isn’t really the issue; it is just a distraction.

  • The Weekly Flyer December 1, 2011, 8:17 am

    @Steve – So you think they would have handled this perfectly had they continued with the line of giving a terminally ill cancer patient and customer a ticket voucher that would expire in 1 year from now?

  • Joe F December 1, 2011, 1:31 pm

    It’s still a little confusing, as if one is terminal, one could simply go on the trip.

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