NATIONAL NEWS

Airlines will now be required to give automatic cash refunds for canceled and delayed flights

Apr 24, 2024, 12:02 PM | Updated: 12:03 pm

The Biden administration issued final rules Wednesday to require airlines to automatically issue ca...

The Biden administration issued final rules Wednesday to require airlines to automatically issue cash refunds for things like delayed flights and to better disclose fees for baggage or canceling a reservation. (Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle via AP)

(Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle via AP)

The Biden administration issued final rules Wednesday to require airlines to automatically issue cash refunds for things like delayed flights and to better disclose fees for baggage or canceling a reservation.

The Transportation Department said airlines will be required to provide automatic cash refunds within a few days for canceled flights and “significant” delays.

Under current regulations, airlines decide how long a delay must last before triggering refunds. The administration is removing that wiggle room by defining a significant delay as lasting at least three hours for domestic flights and six hours for international ones.

Airlines still will be allowed to offer another flight or a travel credit instead, but consumers can reject the offer.

The rule will also apply to refunds of checked-bag fees if the bag isn’t delivered within 12 hours for domestic flights or 15 to 30 hours for international flights. And it will apply to fees for things such as seat selection or an internet connection if the airline fails to provide the service.

Complaints about refunds skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as airlines canceled flights and, even when they didn’t, many people didn’t feel safe sharing a plane cabin with other passengers.

Airlines for America, a trade group for large U.S. carriers, noted that refund complaints to the Transportation Department have fallen sharply since mid-2020. A spokesperson for the group said airlines “offer a range of options — including fully refundable fares — to increase accessibility to air travel and to help customers make ticket selections that best fit their needs.”

The group said the 11 largest U.S. airlines issued $43 billion in customer refunds from 2020 through 2023.

The Transportation Department issued a separate rule requiring airlines and ticket agents to disclose upfront what they charge for checked and carry-on bags and canceling or changing a reservation. On airline websites, the fees must be shown the first time customers see a price and schedule.

The rule will also oblige airlines to tell passengers they have a guaranteed seat they are not required to pay extra for, although it does not bar airlines from charging people to choose specific seats. Many airlines now charge extra for certain spots, including exit-row seats and those near the front of the cabin.

The agency said the rule will save consumers more than $500 million a year.

Airlines for America said its members “offer transparency and vast choice to consumers” from their first search.

The new rules will take effect over the next two years. They are part of a broad administration attack on what President Joe Biden calls “junk fees.” Last week, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced that his department will let state officials in 15 states help enforce federal airline consumer protection laws.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

FILE - Sean "Diddy" Combs arrives at the LA Premiere of "The Four: Battle For Stardom" at the CBS R...

Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press

Sean Combs admits beating ex-girlfriend Cassie, says he’s sorry, calls his actions ‘inexcusable’

Sean “Diddy” Combs admitted that he beat his ex-girlfriend Cassie in a hotel hallway in 2016 after CNN released video of the attack, saying in a video apology he was “truly sorry” and his actions were “inexcusable.”

11 hours ago

Roughly one in seven (15.3%) Gen Z credit card borrowers have maxed out their credit cards. (Westen...

Matt Egan, CNN

1 in 7 Gen Z credit card users are ‘maxed out’

Roughly one in seven (15.3%) Gen Z credit card borrowers have maxed out their credit cards, according to new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

12 hours ago

Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse are depicted in the 'Partners' statue at Disneyland in Anaheim, Califo...

Eva Rothenberg, CNN

Disneyland character performers vote to unionize

(CNN) — You can add Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy to the growing list of workers seeking better employment benefits. After three days of voting last week, 1,700 Disneyland Resort cast members who play characters around the theme park in Anaheim, California, as well as perform at parades, voted to unionize under Actors’ Equity Association, […]

13 hours ago

Cailey Fleming, left, and John Krasinski pose with the character "Blue" at the premiere of Paramoun...

Lindsay Bahr, The Associated Press

John Krasinski’s ‘IF’ hits a box office nerve with $35 million debut

John Krasinski’s imaginary friends movie “IF” claimed the top spot at the box office this weekend according to studio estimates Sunday. Its $35 million North American debut was also a bit lower than some projections.

14 hours ago

This aerial view shows debris from the destroyed Francis Scott Key Bridge being detached from the c...

Amanda Musa and Zoe Sottile, CNN

Trapped cargo ship Dali will refloat to Baltimore Monday at high tide

Almost two months after its devastating collision with a Baltimore bridge, the trapped cargo ship Dali will refloat and travel to the Baltimore marine terminal on Monday morning, officials said.

14 hours ago

Protesters descend a staircase in the Minnesota State Capitol building in St. Paul, holding signs a...

Eva Rothenberg, CNN

Minnesota lawmakers strike minimum pay deal for Uber, Lyft drivers

Minnesota lawmakers successfully struck a deal with rideshare companies Uber and Lyft to establish a minimum wage standard for their drivers.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Airlines will now be required to give automatic cash refunds for canceled and delayed flights