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New Federal Rules Require Airlines to Provide Cash Refunds for Travel Disruptions

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New Federal Rules Require Airlines to Provide Cash Refunds for Travel Disruptions

Airline passengers to receive cash refunds for flight disruptions, new federal rules say

(CNN) — Are you tired of receiving vouchers or travel credits when your flight gets canceled or delayed? The Department of Transportation announced new federal rules on Wednesday that require airlines to provide cash refunds to passengers for flight disruptions.

In addition to cash refunds, airlines will also be required to provide advance information about baggage fees and flight changes to passengers. This move aims to increase transparency and make it easier for travelers to compare prices, ultimately saving passengers millions of dollars each year.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg emphasized that the new rule sets a higher standard for airlines to quickly provide cash refunds to passengers without any headaches or haggling. The rule formalizes the requirement for refunds if a domestic flight is delayed by more than three hours or an international flight is delayed by more than six hours.

Furthermore, the rule mandates a refund for any baggage fees if bags arrive more than 12 hours late, as well as a refund for purchased services like Wi-Fi or upgraded seats if the airline fails to deliver.

The Biden Administration proposed these changes to refund rules following a surge in complaints during the coronavirus pandemic, which severely disrupted air travel. The DOT received nearly 47,600 complaints in 2022, double the number from the previous year, with flight disruptions and refunds being the primary grievances.

Many travelers had complained about airlines offering cashless flight credits or requiring them to wait longer on customer service lines to request a refund. Some of these credits expired before travel returned to normal levels after the pandemic.

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As the DOT and other executive branch agencies finalize key rule changes under the Biden Administration, there is a deadline set for May to prevent these rules from being reviewed by Congress under the Congressional Review Act if Republicans take control of Washington in the November elections.

Overall, these new rules aim to protect airline passengers and ensure they receive the compensation they deserve for flight disruptions without unnecessary hassle or delays.

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