Internet outage on United? Crew told not to announce refunds available

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<i>This post has been updated, as indicated below.</i>

If you pay for wireless Internet access on a United Airlines flight, you are owed a refund if the service doesn’t work.

But internal records obtained by a longtime United critic shows United flight attendants are instructed not to make an announcement to the plane’s passengers about refunds when the service crashes.

The documents were obtained and released on, a website started by Jeremy Cooperstock, a Canadian professor and harsh critic of the carrier.


In a statement, United said it wants passengers who are having trouble with on-board wireless Internet to go on the carrier’s website to describe their problem and request a refund.

[Updated: 1:40 p.m. PDT March 11: United Airlines said flight attendants won’t make announcements to the entire cabin because not every passenger in the plane will buy Wi-Fi. A spokeswoman for the carrier added United is not trying to cheat passengers out of a refund and is planning to rewrite the internal memo.]

Cooperstock said the instructions to crew are “consistent with the airline’s bending the truth about flight delays and its general handling of passenger refund requests.”

United’s satellite-based Wi-Fi service starts at $4.99 and rises depending on the length of the flight.

If the wireless Internet on board doesn’t work, the memo tells crews to “advise any customer who brings this to your attention to request a refund for their purchase through Do not make an announcement.”

Cooperstock has been in a legal battle with United, which has been trying to shut down his website,, claiming it too closely resembles the site.



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