Airlines will soon have to pay you back if they cancel or delay your flight

The Department of Transportation (DOT) finalized rules that will soon require airlines to quickly refund passengers if they cancel or delay flights or make significant changes.

Airlines must pay passengers back either in cash or in the original form of payment, no matter the reason they cancel their flight. Alternatively, passengers can choose to accept travel credit, other kinds of transportation, or another flight offered by the airline.

Airlines must also refund passengers if their flight itinerary is “significantly changed” and they don’t accept the airline’s alternative travel options. Specifically, this means that you can get your money back if your flight changes its arrival or departure time by three or more hours for domestic flights or six hours if you’re flying internationally. The policy also applies in a few other scenarios, like if your departure or arrival airport has changed.

If your paid checked bags are substantially delayed, airlines must also offer you a refund for the baggage fee. You must first file a mishandled baggage report and will get a refund if you don’t receive your bag within 12 hours of your domestic flight arriving at the gate — or 15–30 hours of your international flight. You can also get your money back if the airline doesn’t deliver on in-flight extras you paid for, like seat assignments, Wi-Fi, and entertainment.

The DOT also announced it’ll require airlines to disclose additional fees for things like checked bags and canceling reservations before passengers buy their tickets.

“Airlines should compete with one another to secure passengers’ business—not to see who can charge the most in surprise fees,” US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “DOT’s new rule will save passengers over half a billion dollars a year in unnecessary or unexpected fees by holding airlines accountable for being transparent with their customers.” 

The DOT will start implementing the new rules over the next six to 12 months.

Source: The Verge

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