Monday, 13 April 2020

Consumers 1, US airlines 0

Consumers have scored a victory over notoriously parsimonious US airlines.


Passengers who suffered from cancelled flights because of the covid-19 virus have been offered limited-time credit vouchers by airlines rather than refunds. 

After many complaints, the US Department of Transportation has ordered the airlines to reimburse customers for cancelled flights.

The DOT hasn't set a fixed timeline and will "exercise its prosecutorial discretion" to give recalcitrant airlines time to process refunds.

"The Department is receiving an increasing number of complaints and inquiries from ticketed passengers, including many with non-refundable tickets, who describe having been denied refunds for flights that were cancelled or significantly delayed," it said, 

International Air Transport Association estimates airlines have taken payment of about $US35 billion for flights which were later cancelled.

The Department says credit vouchers have limited validity, and the covid-19 pandemic could still rage for months, reducing options for travellers.

"As a result, passengers are left with cancelled or significantly delayed flights and vouchers and credits for future travel that are not readily usable," the DOT said.

Delta has tried to head off a flood of refund requests by extending flight credit validity to two years, Travel Mole reported.

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