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    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Transportation Department is proposing to require airlines to offer passengers a refund if their flight schedule is changed significantly or the airline makes major changes to their itinerary. The proposed rule announced Wednesday would require airlines to give refunds if their departure or arrival time changes by three hours or more for a domestic flight or at least six hours for an international one. Refunds would also be due if the airline changes the passenger’s departure or arrival airport, adds stops in their itinerary, or causes “a significant downgrade” in the travel experience by switching to a different type of plane. The rule would apply even for travelers who buy nonrefundable tickets, which usually cost less and are favored by many leisure travelers. The proposal comes after the department was flooded with complaints by passengers whose flights were canceled or changed — or who were afraid to fly during the early months of the pandemic — and who couldn’t get refunds. Airlines prefer to hand out travel vouchers instead of refunds. The department proposes to...
    Does the thought of sharing a commercial airline flight with a fellow passenger who insists on not wearing a mask scare you? Fear not. Airlines say they have options — including refunds in some cases – for those of a delicate disposition who are frightened of bare-faced fliers. Many air travellers in the next few weeks bought their tickets before a federal judge in Florida on Monday struck down the requirement to wear a mask in airports and during flights, as Breitbart News reported. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has now confirmed his airline will be flexible with people who have a weak immune system or are simply scared about mask-optional flying for any other reason. “We are working with those customers … to find another option, give them a credit, or if they just don’t ever want to fly again, (we are) actually willing to give them a refund,” Kirby told NBC. Although plenty of people have since applauded the move by the TSA to drop the mask mandate per the court’s decision, others are not so sure. Upon hearing...
    DALLAS (AP) — Airlines say they are offering options — including refunds in some cases — for people worried about flying now that other passengers aren’t required to wear face masks. However, the airlines aren’t providing many details. Customers could find themselves at the mercy of workers at airline customer-service centers. Many people who will be flying in the next few weeks bought their tickets before a federal judge in Florida on Monday struck down the requirement to wear a mask in airports and during flights. That requirement, designed to limit the spread of COVID-19, was due to expire anyway on May 3. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said his airline will be flexible with people who have a weak immune system or are concerned about mask-optional flying for any other reason. “We are working with those customers … to find another option, give them a credit, or if they just don’t ever want to fly again, (we are) actually willing to give them a refund,” Kirby told NBC. A United spokesman said customers except those on the lowest-priced...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some of the thousands of air travelers stranded by cancellations and delays across the county are still trying to get home, which is raising questions about your rights as a passenger. According to FlightAware.com, U.S. carriers cancelled or delayed more than 10,000 flights over the weekend. And that has caused a domino effect that still being felt. “We got delayed in Phoenix on our Delta flight by an hour, and then we are trying to get to the U.P. of Michigan on Denver Air, and that doesn’t leave until 1:30, but they have nobody at the gate,” stranded passenger George Boline said. Compared to travelers in other parts of the world, passengers in the U.S. have very few rights, which makes it all the more important to know which ones you do have. Kyle Potter, editor of Thrifty Traveler, says airlines cut back dramatically during the pandemic; now with loads peaking, they don’t have enough planes or staffing. He says discount airlines can be even riskier because they have fewer flights. “If an airline cancels your flight,...
    DEAR TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER: I recently booked a flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia through Expedia for my family. A few weeks later, I contacted Expedia to make a change for my return flight. The agent made the booking and sent me confirmation and the attached travel documents. Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter  When I tried to check in for my return flight — the one I had changed — I got a message “check in not available. Please contact agent.” I contacted American Airlines. An agent told me that the flight was delayed, and that the delay would cause us to miss the connecting flight. But when they went to give us an alternate flight, they discovered that we actually had no tickets. According to American Airlines, Expedia had never paid for the flight or completed the bookings. We now had no flights home at all. We were advised by American Airlines to call Expedia immediately. After a lengthy call, Expedia conceded that it made a mistake. There was now no alternate flight they could get us on for that day...
    MINISTERS have vowed to press ahead with plans to make airlines refund passengers whose flights were cancelled due to lockdown. The department for transport denied reports it had quietly shelved a new compensation scheme for pandemic hit travellers. 1Ministers have vowed to press ahead with plans to make airlines pay Covid refundsCredit: Getty There were claims the Government wanted to drop the proposal because the aviation industry has already taken a battering from Covid. That would have left sun seekers hundreds of pounds out of pocket, with the suggestion sparking concern among consumer champions. But tonight a DfT spokesman insisted: "It is wrong to claim that plans to ensure airlines refund passengers will be scrapped. “We remain committed to protecting passengers who are waiting for refunds from flights affected by Covid restrictions." Normally customers are due a full refund if their flight is axed. But lockdown rules made it illegal for almost all passengers to board a plane. Most read in The US SunNET CLOSES IN Cops narrow search for Gabby Petito's fiancé based on new intelligenceMANHUNT...
    More On: air travel Planes, strains and automobiles: July 4 travel set to shatter pandemic records Hong Kong to ban passenger flights from UK to curb virus United Airlines confirms it will revitalize fleet with $30B order for new jets Man who leapt from moving LAX plane said he smoked ‘a lot’ of meth The Transportation Department will propose that airlines be required to refund fees on checked baggage if the bags aren’t delivered to passengers quickly enough. The proposal, if made final after a lengthy regulation-writing process, would also require prompt refunds for fees on extras such as internet access if the airline fails to provide the service during the flight. A department official said the agency will issue the proposal in the next several days, and it could take effect by next summer. The proposal will require refunds if airlines fail to deliver a bag within 12 hours of the passenger’s U.S. flight touching down or within 25 hours after an international flight. Current regulations require refunds only if bags are lost, although airlines must compensate passengers...
    Two senators are demanding airlines refund billions of dollars to passengers forced to cancel flights during the coronavirus pandemic – or at least abolish expiration dates for credits. Democrats Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal have written to 10 major airlines asking them to protect customers who fear they will lose money if their flight credits expire and may feel pressured into traveling before it is safe. 'Americans need cash in their pockets to pay for food, housing, and prescriptions during this emergency,' they said in a joint statement. 'It is unconscionable that airlines are largely refusing to return customers' money even as the industry sits on more than $10 billion in unused travel credits. 'However, even as we continue to push for these cash refunds, it is imperative that, at a minimum, your company does not subject pandemic-related flight credits to an expiration date.' Senators Richard Blumenthal (left) and Ed Markey have written to 10 major airlines demanding they refund billions of dollars to passengers for flights canceled during the coronavirus pandemic or at least abolish expiration dates...
    BOSTON (CBS/CNN) – Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey wants people who have airline credits for flights scheduled before the COVID pandemic to get their money back. Markey and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to 10 major airlines, saying anyone who wants a full refund should get it. READ MORE: Massachusetts COVID Vaccine Stats: More Than 4 Million Have Now Received At Least One Dose Would-be air travelers hold billions of dollars in credits for future flights, and two US senators want airlines to drop restrictions like expiration dates — or to refund the customers in cash. Markey and Blumenthal, both Democrats, are asking the carriers “commit to providing a cash refund for all tickets that are canceled during the coronavirus pandemic.” “Americans need cash in their pockets to pay for food, housing, and prescriptions during this emergency,” Markey of Massachusetts and Blumenthal of Connecticut wrote in the letter that was shared with CNN. Congress extended more more than $50 billion in taxpayer dollars to the airlines over the past year to fund payroll expenses, and some airlines took government loans...
    (CNN)Would-be air travelers hold billions of dollars in credits for future flights, and two US senators want airlines to drop restrictions like expiration dates -- or to refund the customers in cash. Sens. Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal, both Democrats, are sending a letter to 10 US airlines Monday asking the carriers "commit to providing a cash refund for all tickets that are canceled during the coronavirus pandemic." "Americans need cash in their pockets to pay for food, housing, and prescriptions during this emergency," Markey of Massachusetts and Blumenthal of Connecticut wrote in the letter that was shared with CNN. Congress extended more more than $50 billion in taxpayer dollars to the airlines over the past year to fund payroll expenses, and some airlines took government loans for other costs. But at the same time, customer complaints about refunds were skyrocketing. Refunds quickly became the most griped about part of air travel during the pandemic, according to the Department of Transportation. Passengers filed more than 107,000 official complaints since March 2020, and 95,000 of those -- 89 percent -- are...
    DEAR TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER: I recently used part of a $721 ticket credit on American Airlines to book a flight from Fort Myers, Florida, to Birmingham, Alabama, to see my grandson perform with the Alabama Ballet. I used $616 in credit and paid a $200 change fee. Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter  Unfortunately, that was one of the first weekends of the pandemic, so the Alabama Ballet canceled its performances. I canceled the flight, fearful of the virus. This left me with a credit of $616, which is good until early 2021. I am turning 86 in a couple of weeks. The pandemic has grown since then, and since I am in the most vulnerable age group, I am not going anywhere and am unlikely to travel for a long time, if at all. That is a lot of money to throw away and not be able to use. I am therefore requesting a refund, or an alternative if there is one, to receive a credit I can allow someone else to use. American Airlines won’t offer a refund or a...
    FAMILIES who opted for travel vouchers when their holidays were cancelled during the pandemic face them expiring before they can use them. Both British Airways and easyJet have been accused of going against EU guidelines in refusing to refund the vouchers if they are unused. 3Families could have their travel vouchers expire and not honoured by airlinesCredit: Alamy Live News The travel industry has previously called for passengers to choose vouchers over monetary compensation to help airlines and tour operators faced with millions of cancellations. Vouchers range from 12 months to 24 months, although with airlines continuing to cancel routes and flights, many travellers may be unable to use them before they expire. According to Which?, the EU guidelines recommend that airlines should automatically refund vouchers 14 days after they expire, yet this is not a legal requirement. Ryanair's vouchers can be transferred into refunds at any time - however, BA and easyJet warn that once a voucher is chosen, it cannot be changed to a cash refund. Prior to the pandemic, EU Regulation 261 meant passengers who had their...
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