The new rules require airlines to offer cash refunds instead of vouchers

(CNN) — Did the airline cancel your flight? Did the plane arrive hours late due to a maintenance problem? Wi-Fi on board not working?

New federal rules stipulate that travelers are entitled to cash refunds when they are upset by their airline, not vouchers or travel credits.

Rules announced by the Department of Transportation on Wednesday also require this Airlines Provide information in advance about baggage fees and flight changes.

Although many airlines have eliminated change fees and disclosures on their websites, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg estimated that increased transparency with some airlines and websites would make it easier for travelers to compare prices, ultimately saving passengers and millions of consumers every… general.

The rule will formalize the requirement that passengers receive refunds if a domestic flight is delayed by more than three hours or if an international flight is delayed by more than six hours.

It will also require a refund of any baggage fees for bags that arrive more than 12 hours late, and a refund of fees for purchased service such as Wi-Fi or upgraded seats if the airline fails to deliver.

“No headache or compromise”

“Our new rule sets a new standard for requiring airlines to quickly provide cash refunds to their passengers,” Buttigieg said in a statement, adding that refunds should be made “without hassle or haggling.”

There is also a provision for travelers frustrated by waiting times at the call center or filling out online claim forms. The rules require that charges be automatic and prompt: within seven days for credit card refunds and 20 days for other forms of payment.

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CNN is reaching out to trade groups representing airlines for comment.

Complaints increase in 2022

The Biden administration proposed changing refund rules in 2022 after complaints about refunds rose when the coronavirus paralyzed air travel. That year, the Department of Transportation received nearly 47,600 complaints, more than double the number of complaints received in 2021. More than half of the complaints were about flight disruptions or chargebacks.

Many travelers complained at the time that airlines were offering cashless flight credits or demanding more time on customer service lines to request refunds. Some of these credits expired long before the effects of the virus wore off and travel returned to more normal levels.

This spring, the Department of Transportation and other executive branch agencies are finalizing major rule changes under Biden in the event Republicans take control of Washington in the November election. Federal law allows Congress to undo recently implemented executive branch rules.

The deadline depends on the House and Senate legislative calendars, but will likely fall in May, meaning rules finalized before that date are not eligible for review under the Congressional Review Act.

Myrtle Frost

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