Airlines have a mixed record for refunding flights cancelled due to covid-19 right now, but things were initially looking good when I contacted Swiss for a refund on three round trip tickets to India from the UK.

Three days before our trip, the Indian government announced it was annulling all active tourist visas, meaning we had to cancel our holiday at very short notice.

I contacted Swiss straight away, and was told my tickets would be cancelled, and that we would be refunded in full (in the end, our flight to Delhi from Zurich didn’t even operate).

Back to our phone call, and Swiss sounded obliging, though they couldn’t tell me when the money would be returned. Our booking showed as cancelled on the Swiss website straight away.

As we were booked in first class, I would ring the Swiss “core customer care” phone number, meaning calls were picked up quickly.

Each week I would phone, and it was always the same story. You’d get a very helpful and professional agent (shout out to Natalie), but there was never an expected refund date. Just an assurance the refund would come at some point.

Swiss first class

Then I started to worry

I began to read reports online that Swiss was withholding refunds, instead pushing vouchers for future flights to customers who needed to cancel.

Then, this announcement appeared on the Swiss website:

That’s right - they are now “unable” to process any kind of refund on any channel!

Time to reach out to American Express

At this point, I decide to stop chasing Swiss and get Amex involved.

I always try and make major purchases on an Amex card, as American Express customer service has always been very good, especially in the U.K.

Sure enough, within a week or so of registering a dispute with Amex, the Swiss transactions were reversed and I am now awaiting a credit balance transfer for the full sum (not a small amount) to my bank account.

Summing up

Once again, American Express comes to the rescue when a merchant fails to deliver a promised refund.

Despite EU law demanding airlines refund passengers for cancelled flights, Swiss is dragging its heels, promising only to give refunds on an unspecified future date.

In my view, Amex is worth its weight in gold and I appreciate their prompt support in helping me get my money back.

Does Swiss owe you money, or has Amex helped you out with a cancelled ticket?