The United States Require Airlines to Give Refunds to Passengers for the Services Weren't Delivered

The United States Require Airlines to Give Refunds to Passengers for the Services Weren't Delivered

News 2021-07-20
On 2 of July, the Transportation Department suggested expanding consumer protections for airline passengers, acting on a sweeping executive order to promote competition that current president, Joe Biden, signed earlier in the day.

What's the idea? This rule will require the airlines to repay the money to passengers for the services that weren't delivered. This includes the following:
  • Money for luggage delayed more than 12 hours for domestic flights and more than 25 hours for international flights. Now the carriers must give refunds only when the baggage is lost.
  • Money for other services that weren't delivered. For example, advanced seat selection, Wi-Fi, and in-flight entertainment.
According to the current rules, companies have to issue refunds only for those fees when flights are canceled or oversold.

The transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, said in a statement the following:

"Consumers deserve to receive the services they pay for or to get their money back when they don't."

Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, also said:

"The fee refunds for checked airline bags will be part of a broader effort the president will release shortly around driving greater competition in the economy in service of lower prices for American families and higher wages for American workers."

However, the proposed rules involve some exceptions. For example, if a passenger pays for Internet access, changes to a flight without that service wouldn't claim a mandatory refund. In addition, if the Internet access generally works for others who paid, but not on an individual passenger's electronic device, they would also not qualify for the refund.

It is also required that refunds be issued quickly. There are only seven days for credit card transactions and 20 days for other payment methods.

"This should be good for consumers. I just wish it hadn't taken so long to get to this point," said John Breyault, an executive at National Consumers League, a nonprofit advocacy organization.

These proposals attempt to restore some of the more pro-consumer policies that the agency has sought to impose in recent months of President Barack Obama's administration. In 2019, airlines collected $5.8 billion in baggage fees and another $2.8 billion in charges for changing or canceling flights.

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