Published on Monday, April 6, 2020

US airlines ordered to give cash refunds for cancelled flights

US airlines have been ordered to give customers with cancelled flights cash refunds instead of vouchers.

The US Department of Transportation stepped in after a flood of complaints from passengers who were being denied cash by the airlines.

However, it hasn't set a fixed timeline for refunds to be issued, saying instead that it will 'exercise its prosecutorial discretion' to allow airlines time to process refunds.

"The Department is receiving an increasing number of complaints and inquiries from ticketed passengers, including many with non-refundable tickets, who describe having been denied refunds for flights that were cancelled or significantly delayed," the agency said.

The International Air Transport Association estimates airlines have been paid about $35 billion for flights which were later cancelled.

The US DoT said credit vouchers have limited validity, and the Covid-19 pandemic could still rage for months, reducing options for passengers

"As a result, passengers are left with cancelled or significantly delayed flights and vouchers and credits for future travel that are not readily usable," the DOT said.

Delta has tried to head off a flood of refund requests by extending flight credit validity to two years.

CNN says the Federal Trade Commission received more than 1,600 complaints regarding flight and vacation bookings disrupted by the coronavirus.



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