New Rules: Automatic Refunds For Delayed & Canceled Flights

April 24, 2024

Too often, airlines drag their feet on refunds or rip folks off with junk fees. It’s time Americans got a better deal.

United States President Joe Biden announcing his administration’s new rules for airlines nationwide. Announced on Wednesday, the two new rules will take effect over the next two years. “Junk fees” defined below.

Why It Matters: The White House says the “Newly finalized rules will mandate automatic, cash refunds for cancelled or significantly delayed flights and save consumers over half a billion dollars every year in airline fees.” How could these changes affect you? Under the new rules, airlines will be required to promptlyand automatically provide refunds when owed to consumers for a canceled or a delayed flight, as opposed to the current practice of consumers specifically requesting a refund. Currently, airlines determine what length delay constitutes your eligibility for a refund. However, the administrations’ new rules provide a standard definition for “significant delays.” Domestic flights – a delay of at least 3 hours. International flights – a delay of at least 6 hours. Additionally, “airlines and ticket agents” will be required to tell consumers upfront what fees they charge for a first or second checked bag, a carry-on bag, and for canceling or changing a reservation.”

Big Picture: The new rules are part of the Biden administrations broader crackdown on what the President describes as junk fees,” otherwise known to the Federal Trade Commission as fees with “unnecessary, unavoidable, or surprise charges that inflate costs while adding little to no value.“ In March, federal regulators capped most credit card late fees at $8.

Read More: Airlines will now be required to give automatic cash refunds for canceled and delayed flights (The Associated Press)

Biden issues new rules for airlines to require automatic cash refunds, prohibit surprise fees (CNBC)

More specifics on the two new rules HERE and HERE

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas