The US Department of Transportation (DOT) is publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would require airlines to refund fees for poor service, such as checked bags that are significantly delayed, and for ancillary services, such as advance seat selection and inflight wi-fi, when consumers pay for them but they are not provided. With this NPRM the DOT is acting on President Biden’s ‘Executive Order Promoting Competition in the American Economy’.
“Consumers deserve to receive the services they pay for or to get their money back when they don’t,” said US Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg.
Under an existing DOT rule, passengers are entitled to a fee refund if their checked bags are lost. However, the NPRM proposes that airlines should also be required to refund checked baggage fees when the baggage is delayed beyond 12 hours for domestic flights, and beyond 25 hours for international flights.
The NPRM also proposes that airlines should be required to provide a prompt refund to passengers of any fees paid for ancillary services anytime that the services are not provided by the airline. The DOT’s existing rule requires airlines to refund fees for services that were not provided only due to an oversale situation or flight cancellation. The proposed rule addresses two additional aviation consumer protection issues as directed by the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act of 2016 and the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.