Many airlines are refusing to pay back customers after flights have been canceled due to coronavirus. Instead, they are allegedly charging rebooking fees or offering time-bound vouchers instead of full refunds. However, the US Department of Transportation’s enforcement notice on April 3, 2020 made it clear: if the flight is to or from the US, customers must get full refunds for airline-canceled flights.
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Despite $25 billion bailout, airlines delay refunds or charge fees
On March 31, 2020, several U.S. Senators wrote to airline CEOs urging them to give customers full refunds for flights canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to excerpts in The Hill, the letter says:
“It would be unacceptable to us for your company to hold onto travelers’ payments for canceled flights instead of refunding them, especially in light of the $25 billion bailout that the airline industry just received from Congress…We urge you to offer cash refunds for flight cancellations so that Americans can better weather this crisis.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, United Airlines has reportedly forced some customers to wait a full year to receive refunds on canceled international flights. Delta Airlines has allegedly charged some customers cancellation fees if they ask for a refund instead of a voucher.
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