The US DoT has long stated that airlines must issue a refund if they cancel a flight. However many airlines have been refusing refunds due to COVID-19 and hoping the DoT would look the other way.
They say the clarification is being issued due to an increasing number of complaints from consumer who have been denied refunds.
- This applies to both US and foreign airlines for all flights from, to, or within the US.
- The refund includes the ticket price, taxes, and all optional services purchased.
- A refund is still required even if a government refuses to allow an airline to fly.
- A refund is due for both cancelled flights and flights with a significant schedule change. Unfortunately the DoT isn’t specifying what exactly is a significant schedule change, so there will be some wiggle room here.
The DoT says that due to COVID-19 they won’t be applying fines to non-compliant airlines immediately, but rather they will allow airlines the opportunity to come into compliance, update their policies, and issue refunds before they take enforcement actions against the airline.
Offending airlines such as Air Canada, Air France, El Al, JetBlue, Lufthansa, and United, you are officially on notice. Start issuing refunds or face DoT fines and punitive actions.
If an airline still won’t issue a refund, be sure to complain to the DoT here.
Have you been able to get a refund for your cancelled flights? If you call an airline, be sure to tell the agent or manager about today’s DoT guideance!