Flying Overseas? Biden’s New Policy Means Money for Flight Hassles

As summer draws ever closer, many Americans across the nation are getting excited about the idea of going abroad on holiday. Well, the Biden administration has just announced an all-new policy that could mean that any issues with your holidays are promptly sorted with a big cash payout.

Simplifying Refunds

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The government just made it easier for us to get cash back from airlines when things go wrong with our flights. 

Easing the Refund Process

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In an attempt to simplify the refund process for millions of Americans, the Biden administration has announced new rules that require airlines to promptly refund customers with automatic payments when their domestic and international flights are delayed, as well as in a few other situations.

Transportation Secretary’s Statement

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The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the rule last month, with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stating, “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.”

Previous Challenges

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Under the current rules, delayed flights are only paid out after they reach a time limit that airlines set for a “delay” which led to varying refund policies across different airlines – and a lot of confused customers. 

Time Limits for Refunds

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Airlines can require flights to be delayed by anywhere between 3-8 hours before allowing payouts, but under the new rules, the government will set the time limits.

New Refund Eligibility 

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The new rules state that any domestic flight that has been delayed for 3 hours and any international flight that has been delayed by 6 hours will be eligible for a refund or money back. 

Right to Refuse 

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Airlines can offer passengers new flights or credit instead, but customers have the right to refuse the offer.

New Protections for Passengers

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On top of this, you can now claim money back if your baggage is significantly delayed. If your checked bag takes longer than 12 hours after your domestic flight lands or between 15 to 30 hours after your international flight lands, you can get your bag fee refunded by filing a mishandled baggage report.

Rights to Extras Refunds

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Also, if you paid for extras like Wi-Fi, seat selection, or inflight entertainment and the airline doesn’t provide these services, you’re entitled to get your money back. These protections ensure that you’re not left out of pocket when things don’t go as planned during your travels.

A Simplified Process

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This new rule makes it easier for you to get your refund without having to jump through hoops or wait on the phone for hours. Before, you might have ended up with just a travel voucher instead of real money, which was frustrating if you needed to book another flight.

Customer Empowerment

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Now, getting your refund should be simpler and faster, giving you more confidence and control when you fly.

Automatic Refunds

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The new rule makes getting refunds easier for passengers in several ways: Automatic Refunds: Airlines are now required to issue refunds automatically, without passengers having to ask for them.

Timely Processing

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Timely Refunds: Airlines and ticket agents must process refunds quickly, within seven business days for credit card purchases and 20 calendar days for other payment methods.

Ensuring Real Money Refunds, Not Vouchers

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Cash Refunds: Refunds must be in cash or the original payment method used, such as a credit card or airline miles. Airlines can’t substitute vouchers or travel credits unless you agree.

Full Ticket Refunds

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Full Refunds: Passengers are entitled to a full refund of the ticket price, minus any portion of the journey already completed. This includes all taxes, fees, and charges, regardless of their refundability to the airlines.

Options for Unforeseen Circumstances

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If passengers are unable to travel due to government restrictions or medical advice related to a serious infectious disease, airlines are required to offer travel credits or vouchers. Passengers may need to provide supporting documentation for such requests. 

Travel Credits and Vouchers

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These vouchers must be transferrable and remain valid for at least five years from the date of issue.

Notification Obligations

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As well as all this, airlines are now obligated to promptly inform affected passengers of their right to a refund in cases of flight cancellations or significant changes. This notification must also include information regarding refunds for extra service fees.

Addressing Complaints

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The DOT stated that they have taken this action due to a surge in complaints against airlines and ticket agents for not issuing refunds or delaying them, especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Surge in Complaints

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According to the DOT, “At the height of the pandemic in 2020, refund complaints peaked at 87 percent of all air travel service complaints received by DOT. Refund problems continue to make up a substantial share of the complaints that DOT receives.”

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The post Flying Overseas? Biden’s New Policy Means Money for Flight Hassles was first published on Passing Thru.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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