Coronavirus cancellations: DOT clarifies airline reimbursement requirements during pandemic

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The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a notice reminding foreign and domestic airlines that they are required to promptly reimburse customers if their flights are canceled or if schedules are significantly changed in the midst of the global pandemic of coronavirus.

On Friday, the Department of Transport released an application notice informing both the traveling public and carriers operating airplanes with at least 30 seats of the rules of the federal department.

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DOT explained that it had received a

DOT said it has received “an increasing number of complaints and inquiries from ticket passengers.”
(iStock)

DOT said it has received “an increasing number of complaints and inquiries from ticketed passengers”, many of them with non-refundable tickets, who claim that the airlines with which they have booked a trip offered them travel vouchers or credits for the future. However, as airlines dramatically cut service and much remains unknown in the future, flights are canceled, delayed significantly or with vouchers that are not “easily redeemable” in the midst of the epidemic of COVID-19.

“Airlines have long provided such reimbursements, including during periods when air travel has been disrupted on a large scale, such as the aftermath of the September 11, 2011 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and natural disasters declared by the President Says the note. the COVID-19 public health emergency has had an unprecedented impact on air transportation, and airlines’ obligation to reimburse passengers for canceled or delayed flights remains unchanged. “

The policy applies to flights to, from, or to the United States, the DOT said.

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“The obligation of the airlines to provide refunds, including the price of the ticket and the optional fees charged for the services which a passenger is unable to use, does not cease when the disruptions to the flight escape the carrier control (for example, due to government restrictions). The federal department counted.

In the context of the exceptional and unprecedented crisis, the DOT will exercise its discretion to give airlines the opportunity to comply, before taking further action in the event of carrier non-compliance.

“The Aviation Enforcement Office will monitor airline policies and practices and take action if necessary,” said the note.

Those with other questions can find additional information on the DOT website.

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