A Volaris class action lawsuit has been filed against the Mexican airline by passengers who claim that their flights were cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak but they were not provide a refund and are even required to pay a penalty in order to rebook their flight.
Samantha Levey says that Volaris canceled many flights to Mexico from the United States because of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, even though the restriction on travel did not apply to any air travel.
Levey states that, when the airline canceled these flights, they did not provide refunds to passengers who requested them despite a customer contract and the Department of Transportation (DOT) recommendations that airlines should refund consumers.
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Volaris is an ultra-low-cost airline that offers travel to and from Mexico and operates 394 daily flights to 40 cities in Mexico and 26 cities in the United States and South America, according to the Volaris class action lawsuit.
On June 21, 2019, Levey claims that she purchased a round trip ticket from Chicago to Silao, Guanajuato, Mexico for $636.57. She says that she was supposed to depart from Chicago’s Midway Airport on March 20, 2020 and return on March 24, 2020.
Levey alleges that she purchased an airline ticket on Volaris so that she could travel to Mexico during the late winter and early spring when travel fares are the most expensive.
On March 20, Volaris reportedly canceled her flights without any notice or explanation. Levey notes that there has not been a ban on air travel to and from Mexico due to the coronavirus. The only travel that is being banned is non-essential ground travel along the United States and Mexico border in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Despite knowing this, Volaris canceled flights from the United States to Mexico without providing a refund to passengers and making them pay a penalty in order to rebook their flights, Levey maintains.
Even after numerous attempts to contact the airline by phone and email, Volaris allegedly refused to offer Levey a refund for her $636.57 ticket price. Even though she requested a refund for the canceled flight, Volaris reportedly offered to provide credit towards future travel within the next 30 days.
Levey could not change her schedule and demanded that the airline provide her with a full refund, to which the airline refused. After that exchange, Volaris offered Levey a credit for $404.45, under the condition that she utilize the credit towards another Volaris flight for travel between April 6, 2020, and July 5, 2020.
If she refused or did not reschedule within that time frame, she would lose all of the money that she paid towards the trip, the Volaris class action lawsuit states.
The Volaris class action lawsuit notes that flight disruptions outside of the control of the airlines, such as the coronavirus pandemic, does not preclude airlines from providing refunds to passengers. Levey points to DOT guidance to support her point.
On April 3, 2020, the DOT sent out an enforcement notice which recommended that airlines’ should provide a refund to passengers if their flights were canceled or if the carrier makes a significant change to the flight schedule and the passenger requests a refund, the plaintiff argues.
The Volaris class action alleges that the plaintiff and potential Class Members have been damaged as a result of the defendant’s actions in an amount that will be determined at trial.
“Defendant made deceptive and/or misleading representations regarding the fees that would have deceived an objectively reasonable person into believing they were legitimate,” the Volaris class action lawsuit says.
The Volaris class action lawsuit maintains that there are numerous questions of law that are common to Class Members, including: 1) whether Volaris’ cancelation of the flights without a refund constitutes a breach of contract; 2) whether Volaris’ contract with passengers permits the cancelation of flights without a refund and if these actions are unconscionable; 3) whether Volaris’ cancelation of the plaintiff’s flights was outside of the their control or through no fault of the plaintiff; and 4) whether the current COVID-19 pandemic is an act of God which would entitle the plaintiff and the class to a refund.
Prospective Class Members include: “All natural persons domiciled in the United States or its territories who purchased airfare on Volaris airlines for travel between March 20, 2020, and April 20, 2020, […] whose flights were canceled by Volaris and who were not provided a refund of paid fare and/or were required to pay a penalty to rebook their travel.”
The plaintiff is represented by William Sweetnam of Sweetnam LLC.
The Volaris Canceled Flight Class Action Lawsuit is Levey v. Concesionaria Vuela Compania de Aviacion SAPI de CV, et al., Case No. 1:20-cv-02215, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
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