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

shutterstock 256714888 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Africa Studio

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

shutterstock 1765318208 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

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

shutterstock 506777470

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Olena Yakobchuk

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

shutterstock 2151129353 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

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

shutterstock 617989400

Image Credit: Shutterstock / SynthEx

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 

shutterstock 2224559175

Image Credit: Shutterstock / chaylek

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 

shutterstock 2153891527 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Amnaj Khetsamtip

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

New Protections for Passengers

shutterstock 2006035943

Image Credit: Shutterstock /fizkes

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

shutterstock 2001063599

Image Credit: Shutterstock / New Africa

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

shutterstock 2040050900 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

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

shutterstock 2375495879

Image Credit: Shutterstock / R Photography Background

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

Automatic Refunds

shutterstock 1673456551

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

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

shutterstock 2002100354

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

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

shutterstock 2195272381

Image Credit: Shutterstock / FabrikaSimf

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

shutterstock 2407973185

Image Credit: Shutterstock / sav_an_dreas

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

shutterstock 130170530 1 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alexander Raths

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

shutterstock 248801749

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

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

Notification Obligations

shutterstock 1827989519 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Song_about_summer

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

shutterstock 1670760397 1 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Salivanchuk Semen

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

shutterstock 2275394851 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Tero Vesalainen

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.”

More Articles Like This…

Barcelona: Discover the Top 10 Beach Clubs

2024 Global City Travel Guide – Your Passport to the World’s Top Destination Cities

Exploring Khao Yai 2024 – A Hidden Gem of Thailand

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

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ekaterina Pokrovsky.

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.

Tips for Trip Success

Book Your Flight
Find an inexpensive flight by using Kayak, a favorite of ours because it regularly returns less expensive flight options from a variety of airlines.

Book Your Hotel or Special Accommodation
We are big fans of We like their review system and photos. If we want to see more reviews and additional booking options, we go to Expedia.

You Need Travel Insurance!
Good travel insurance means having total peace of mind. Travel insurance protects you when your medical insurance often will not and better than what you get from your credit card. It will provide comprehensive coverage should you need medical treatment or return to the United States, compensation for trip interruption, baggage loss, and other situations.Find the Perfect Insurance Plan for Your Tripimage 9133145 14418597

PassingThru is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

To view PassingThru’s privacy policy, click here.