Airlines Will Be Required To Give Cash Refunds For Canceled Trips

Chile! The Department of Transportation isn’t playing any games with airlines and giving their customers cash refunds! The final policy details were settled on Wednesday (April 25). Now, airlines will have to cough up those cash refunds within days for canceled flights.

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More On The Policy New Policy For Airlines & Cash Refunds

The new measure will also reportedly cover flights that experience “significant” delays.

According to the Associated Press, the airlines will be required to give the cash refunds “within a few days” of the impacted date.

Under current regulations, airlines decide how long a delay must last before triggering refunds. The administration is removing that wiggle room by defining a significant delay as lasting at least three hours for domestic flights and six hours for international ones.

To be clear, the new measure will still allow airlines to offer travel credits or other flight options. However, customers have the right to reject that offer.

What Else Will Customers Get Refunds For?

This cash refund mandate will also apply to refunds of checked bag fees if customers don’t receive their luggage within a specific time frame. The time frame is within 12 hours for domestic flights and 15 to 30 hours for international flights.

And that’s not the only W for customers. Airlines must also step up their efforts in disclosing those shifty baggage fees and canceling reservations.

The Transportation Department issued a separate rule requiring airlines and ticket agents to disclose upfront what they charge for checked and carry-on bags and canceling or changing a reservation. On airline websites, the fees must be shown the first time customers see a price and schedule.

If you pay for WiFi on a plane and it doesn’t work, you’ll get a refund.

And what about seat selection? Airlines must now guarantee passengers seats ahead of flights that do not require extra payment. However, airlines can still charge folks for selecting specific fees. That rule alone is supposed to save flyers over $500 million per year, per Dept. of Transportation.

Why & When Are These Changes Happening?

So why these changes? According to AP, complaints about refunds skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with cancelations. Even when airlines did cancel flights, many people didn’t feel safe sharing a plane cabin with other passengers.

The new rules will take effect over the next two years. They are part of a broad administration attack on what President Joe Biden calls “junk fees.”

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