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Airlines now have to compensate passengers instantly for delays and cancellations

When a flight is delayed or canceled, people shouldn't leave the airport without getting their rightful compensation.

Airlines now have to compensate passengers instantly for delays and cancellations
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Anna Shvets

Every day, numerous flights around the world are delayed or canceled for various reasons. Though passengers are promised a refund, they often endure days of hassle to receive it. However, a new U.S. law now allows passengers to be instantly refunded under certain conditions. In April, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) introduced a rule requiring airlines to "provide passengers with automatic cash refunds when owed." This rule applies to specific conditions, making the refund process much more hassle-free.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Victor Freitas
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Victor Freitas


When airlines "cancel or significantly change their flights, significantly delay their checked bags or fail to provide the extra services they purchased," they are indebted to compensate the passengers instantly. "Passengers deserve to get their money back when an airline owes them—without headaches or haggling. Our new rule sets a new standard to require airlines to promptly provide cash refunds to their passengers," Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. Transportation Secretary, said in a statement. Before this rule maneuvered the refund processes of all airlines, every individual airline had its own refund policies giving the passengers quite a difficult time to figure it out. 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Karolina Kaboompics
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Karolina Kaboompics

Some airlines had unreasonable refund policies for flight cancellations or delays, leading to numerous complaints to the DOT. Now, with this universal rule, passengers can easily receive their refunds. If flights are canceled or significantly delayed (more than 3 hours for domestic and 6 hours for international), passengers are automatically eligible for a refund. If baggage return is delayed by more than 12 hours for domestic flights or 15-30 hours (depending on flight duration) for international flights, the checked baggage fee will be refunded. Fees for extra services like Wi-Fi, seat selection, or inflight entertainment will also be refunded if not provided.

Passengers no longer need to wait on hold or fill out numerous forms to get a refund. Previously, some airlines would offer travel credits or vouchers instead of refunds to keep passengers from switching airlines. With the new DOT rule, every affected passenger will be refunded automatically without needing to initiate the process. Airlines must ensure the refund reaches the traveler within 7-20 days, depending on the payment method. However, exceptions include non-refundable tickets, unsatisfactory flight service, cancellations due to personal reasons, and incidental expenses from delays or cancellations.

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A post shared by Cierra Mistt (@cierra_mistt)


Speaking of flight travel, a flight attendant's hack to compel airlines to rebook a flight in case of delay is the need of the hour. Cierra Mist (@cierra_mistt) a former flight attendant and an influencer shared that airlines don't reveal that the flight is canceled because they don't need to refund passengers in case of unavoidable delays as per Federal Aviation Administration regulations. They simply bluff that the flight is delayed and make travelers wait for hours. Mist asked to go into the Google Flights website and enter our destination. "When you have all the data, including the airlines' delays policy, alternate routes with spaces on those flights, take it to a representative at the desk and they will have to help," she said. Then we can demand a rebooking from the staff instantly.

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