The United States Transportation Department announced Friday it has issued an order to airlines to refund tickets for canceled or significantly altered flights.
According to Reuters.com, Transportation Department officials said the “longstanding obligation of carriers to provide refunds for flights that carriers cancel or significantly delay does not cease when the flight disruptions are outside of the carrier’s control.”
Carriers in the U.S. and across the world have canceled thousands of flights each day and many have been forced to ground large portions of their fleets as a result of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier this week, politicians in Washington asked the CEOs of top airlines in the U.S. to issue full cash refunds to customers who cancel their flights after receiving a rising number of complaints from travelers.
While the federal government has not taken any immediate action against airlines, officials said they would step in if carriers don’t take the opportunity to become compliant, including updating refund policies and contacting eligible passengers in a timely manner.
On Friday, Delta Air Lines announced it is extending the ability for customers to plan and rebook for up to two years, secure the value of their tickets and ensure they’re redeemable for a longer period.
Customers may be concerned about refunds, but airlines continue to step up to help their local communities in the wake of the viral outbreak. For example, United is providing free roundtrip flights for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.
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