A New Government Rule Forces Airlines To Pay Cancellation Fees

(NewsReady.com) – Canceled or delayed flights aren’t just annoying; they can lead to an avalanche of other problems. For instance, a traveler could miss a connecting flight or an important event in their life because of an airline’s mistake. President Joe Biden’s administration is now stepping in and forcing airlines to pay.

On April 24, the Department of Transportation announced the final rule requiring airlines to provide automatic cash refunds when they cancel or significantly change flights. The rule defines “significant change” as a domestic flight delayed more than three hours or an international flight delayed more than six hours. It also includes instances when an airline changes the arrivals or departures from a different airport, downgrades passengers, forces disabled people to board a less accessible plane, or increases the number of connections.

The new rule also addresses baggage issues, ordering airlines to refund checked bag fees if their bags are significantly delayed. Further, the airlines will be responsible for paying refunds if they charge for services they didn’t provide.

The refunds are supposed to be automatic, meaning passengers won’t have to waste their time calling the airlines and begging for help after missing a flight or losing baggage. The money has to be refunded within seven business days, or 20 days if the passenger used a credit card. The refunds must be made using the original payment method.

The New York Times reported that Airlines for America, a trade group for some of the largest airlines, also put out a statement. The organization claimed air carriers often “abide by and frequently exceed” consumer protection regulations.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg issued a statement, making it clear that travelers deserve to know what kind of costs they might have to pay. He also said they shouldn’t have to ask for their money back when an airline makes changes.

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