Airlines Required To Offer Cash Refunds For Canceled And Delayed Flights Under New DOT Rules

April 25, 2024

In a significant move for air travelers, the Department of Transportation unveiled groundbreaking regulations on Wednesday.

These new guidelines mandate airlines to automatically reimburse passengers in cash for flights that are canceled or face substantial delays.

airlines new refund policy
Airlines required to refund passengers for canceled, delayed flights

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg heralded the announcement as a pivotal moment for American aviation consumers. He emphasized that these regulations mark the most extensive enhancement of passenger rights ever introduced by the department.

Gone are the days when airlines could determine the duration of a delay warranting a refund. According to the freshly minted DOT regulations, passengers are eligible for a refund if their domestic flight is delayed over three hours or if their international flight is delayed more than six hours. This policy applies across the board, whether tickets were purchased directly from airlines, through travel agents, or via third-party platforms like Expedia and Travelocity.

The new rules explicitly state that passengers have the right to a cash refund if their flight is canceled or altered significantly and they opt out of alternative travel arrangements or travel credits proposed by the airline.

Furthermore, airlines are now obligated to provide cash refunds for lost luggage that isn't returned within a 12-hour window.

"Passengers deserve to get their money back when an airline owes them -- without headaches or haggling," Buttigieg said in a statement.

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