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New Federal Rule Forces Airlines To Automatically Refund Passengers For Delayed Flights

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New Federal Rule Forces Airlines To Automatically Refund Passengers For Delayed Flights

Author: Diccon Hyatt

New Federal Rule Forces Airlines To Automatically Refund Passengers For Delayed Flights

Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

Key Takeaways

  • A new federal rule requires airlines to give customers an automatic cash refund when their flight is delayed, their bag is lost or amenities they paid for are not provided.
  • Some airlines already had similar policies, but the rule sets a standard across the industry and eliminates the need for customers to navigate the airlines’ systems to request a refund.
  • The rule is a part of a broader effort by the White House to expand consumer protections.

The next time your flight is delayed, your bag gets lost, or the wi-fi you paid for doesn’t work, you’ll be entitled to a cash refund, thanks to a new federal rule—and you won’t have to fill out any forms to get it.

The Department of Transportation issued a rule Wednesday requiring airlines to give cash refunds to customers whose flights were delayed or canceled, or who didn’t receive services they paid for. While many airlines already had policies offering refunds under those circumstances, the new federal rule sets a standard that all airlines must follow.

“Passengers deserve to get their money back when an airline owes them—without headaches or haggling,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a press release. “Our new rule sets a new standard to require airlines to promptly provide cash refunds to their passengers.”

Refunds Paid Immediately, No Paperwork Needed

Under the new rule, you’re entitled to a full refund, paid in cash, if your departure times are changed by more than three hours for domestic flights or six hours for international ones. You’ll also be able to claim a refund if your misplaced luggage isn’t delivered within 12 hours for domestic flights, or 15 to 30 hours for international trips. Passengers can also get refunded if they don’t get the wi-fi, seat selection, or in-flight entertainment they paid for. 

What’s more, airlines must provide those refunds automatically, without making passengers submit any paperwork to receive them.

Airlines Must Also Disclose Fees Upfront

In a separate measure, the department is requiring airlines to disclose, upfront, any fees they’ll charge for carry-on bags, or for canceling or changing a reservation. The department estimates this restriction on so-called “junk fees” will save travelers $500 million a year. 

The initiatives are part of an effort by President Joe Biden’s administration to extend consumer protections and eliminate fees that are unexpected by customers and excessive in comparison with normal costs.

Read the original article on Investopedia.

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