DOT proposes stricter refund protections for travelers
The Transportation Department wants more protection for customers caught up in air travel disruption.
The DOT proposed a rule requiring airlines to give out refunds if domestic flight timings are changed by three hours or more.
Refunds would kick in for delays of six hours for international flights.
It would apply to all tickets, even those non-refundable.
Refunds would also be applied if the airline had to change the departure or arrival airport or made ‘a significant downgrade.’
The DOT had been inundated by complaints by passengers unable to get refunds.
Current rules on issuing refunds are not clear, meaning airlines can often delay refund payments or just hand out credit vouchers.
“When Americans buy an airline ticket, they should get to their destination safely, reliably, and affordably,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.
“This new proposed rule would protect the rights of travelers and help ensure they get the timely refunds they deserve.”
Complaints to the department rose nearly seven times in 2020 nearly nine out of ten were about refunds.
The department will seek public comments on the proposal for 90 days.