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

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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.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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

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

  4. 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.

  5. @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?

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