Airlines must give automatic refunds for all canceled flights and those delayed over 3 hours: DOT


(NEW YORK) — The Department of Transportation on Wednesday is rolling out new rules that will require airlines to automatically give cash refunds to passengers for cancelled and significantly delayed flights.

The delays covered would be more than three hours for domestic flights and more than six hours for international flights, the agency said.

The DOT will also require airlines to give cash refunds if your bags are lost and not delivered within 12 hours.

Airlines will have six months to comply with the new rules, the DOT said.

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

Buttigieg will make a formal announcement about the major changes at a Wednesday morning news conference.

The DOT said it is also working on rules related to family seating fees, enhancing rights for wheelchair-traveling passengers for safe and dignified travel, and mandating compensation and amenities if flights are delayed or canceled by airlines.

According to the DOT, passengers are entitled to a refund for:

Canceled or significantly changed flights: Passengers will be entitled to a refund if their flight is canceled or significantly changed, and they do not accept alternative transportation or travel credits offered. For the first time, the rule defines “significant change.” Significant changes to a flight include departure or arrival times that are more than 3 hours domestically and 6 hours internationally; departures or arrivals from a different airport; increases in the number of connections; instances where passengers are downgraded to a lower class of service; or connections at different airports or flights on different planes that are less accessible or accommodating to a person with a disability.

Significantly delayed baggage return: Passengers who file a mishandled baggage report will be entitled to a refund of their checked bag fee if it is not delivered within 12 hours of their domestic flight arriving at the gate, or 15-30 hours of their international flight arriving at the gate, depending on the length of the flight.

Extra services not provided: Passengers will be entitled to a refund for the fee they paid for an extra service — such as Wi-Fi, seat selection, or inflight entertainment — if an airline fails to provide this service.

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