BUSINESS + ECONOMY

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

Apr 25, 2024, 9:00 PM

Passenger drop off their baggage at United Airlines in C Terminal at George Bush Intercontinental A...

FILE - Passenger drop off their baggage at United Airlines in C Terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023, in Houston. The Biden administration issued final rules Wednesday, April 24, 2024, 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, File)

(Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)

Associated Press — 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.

Related:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Business + Economy

Almost half of working Americans say they feel good about their finances, for now. They're feeling ...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Working Americans are worried about their future finances

Almost half of working Americans say they feel good about their finances, for now. They're feeling unsure about the future.

3 days ago

A newly implemented city regulation in Washington DC is making the city and childcare even more exp...

Devin Oldroyd

New law raises Washington DC childcare cost and affects childcare staff

A newly implemented city regulation in Washington DC is making the city and childcare even more expensive and unsustainable for families.

3 days ago

Financial technology, or FinTech is a new minor offered at the University of Utah. This year, they ...

Josuee Sanchez

Graduates from U’s FinTech program join a popular, growing field

FinTech grads will fill roles in businesses that include digital banking, blockchain technology, and artificial intelligence.

4 days ago

housing in rural utah...

Heather Peterson

New report explores similarities and differences in rural and urban Utahns

Researchers analyzed Census data, which showed that people in Utah’s urban and rural communities shared surprising similarities.

4 days ago

a utah child care provider and several children...

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: A look inside the child care crisis

You've heard about the child care crisis in Utah. Parents can't afford child care. Child care workers can't afford to live on what they make.

5 days ago

Rural wildlife firefighters, "Hot Shots"...

Michael Camit

Utah is struggling to retain its rural ‘Hotshots’

Filling jobs of rural wildlife firefighters can be difficult due to the cost of living according to the Utah Division of Forestry, Fires and State Lands.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

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