Horror stories about air travel are becoming commonplace; an increasing number of people have experienced delayed flights, lost luggage or unprofessional behavior during flights. Most airlines have a set policy on compensation to inconvenienced customers and will take care of the problem before you leave the boarding area in the airport. In the rare instance that you have suffered from an airline's actions and are not taken care of, you can write a letter to the airline requesting a refund.

Gather together your proof of the incident, including your boarding pass, credit card statements showing the cost of your ticket and any pictures you may have taken or affidavits you possess. Make photocopies of each piece of paper. Make sure you have proof of every statement you will make to the airline.

Write a calm and courteous letter to the airline, describing in detail the incident and the resulting consequences to you. Cover as many small details as possible, such as the time the flight cancellation was announced and the amount of money you lost by missing your business meeting. Write in a businesslike manner, avoiding all emotional outbursts.

Conclude the letter by explaining exactly what compensation you expect from the airline. Make the refund request reasonable compared to the offense you suffered. A spilled drink on the flight does not require the same level of compensation as a cancelled flight that caused you to miss the birth of your daughter. If the offense was major, ask for major compensation, but scale down your request for lesser problems.

Search the airline website to find the appropriate person and department to which to address the letter. Do not send it to the general head of the airline, thinking someone at the top will be more likely to help you. Find the department specifically designed to deal with customers who have had poor experiences on the airline. Every company has its own customer service department. Find out the name of the head of this department, and send your letter to him.

Include copies of all paperwork and proof with your letter. Send the letter by registered mail, so you have proof that it was delivered to the correct recipient.

Things You Will Need
  • Flight paperwork

  • Photographs, affidavits or other evidence


Emphasize your good relations with the airline in the past. There is no reason to anger the person who is there to help you; your praise of past performance may help the process along.