Great news came today for Michiganders that are planning to fly but worry about potential issues they might encounter from the major airlines.

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A final ruling has been issued by the Department of Transportation that will require airlines to compensate flyers if they run into issues while flying.

What Are Passengers Now Entitled To?

Canceled or significantly changed flights: Passengers will be entitled to a refund if their flight is canceled or significantly changed, and they do not accept alternative transportation or travel credits offered.

Significant changed flights will be for departure or arrival times that are more than 3 hours domestically and 6 hours internationally; departures or arrivals from a different airport; increases in the number of connections; instances where passengers are downgraded to a lower class of service; or connections at different airports or flights on different planes that are less accessible or accommodating to a person with a disability.

Significantly delayed baggage return: Passengers who file a mishandled baggage report will be entitled to a refund of their checked bag fee if it is not delivered within 12 hours of their domestic flight arriving at the gate, or 15-30 hours of their international flight arriving at the gate, depending on the length of the flight.

Extra services not provided: Passengers will be entitled to a refund for the fee they paid for an extra service — such as Wi-Fi, seat selection, or inflight entertainment — if an airline fails to provide this service.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg explained what the new rules are for.

“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.”


The final rule improves the passenger experience by requiring refunds to be:

Automatic: Airlines must automatically issue refunds without passengers having to explicitly request them or jump through hoops.

Prompt: Airlines and ticket agents must issue refunds within seven business days of refunds becoming due for credit card purchases and 20 calendar days for other payment methods.

Cash or original form of payment: Airlines and ticket agents must provide refunds in cash or whatever original payment method the individual used to make the purchase, such as credit card or airline miles.

Airlines can't substitute vouchers, travel credits, or other forms of compensation unless the passenger affirmatively chooses to accept alternative compensation.

Full amount: Airlines and ticket agents must provide full refunds of the ticket purchase price, minus the value of any portion of transportation already used.

The refunds must include all government-imposed taxes and fees and airline-imposed fees, regardless of whether the taxes or fees are refundable to airlines.

The final rule also requires airlines to provide prompt notifications to consumers affected by a cancelled or significantly changed flight of their right to a refund of the ticket and extra service fees, as well as any related policies.

I wish this would have been in place before because I would have a lot of money coming my way. Hopefully these new rules will force airlines to get their crap together and make flying a more enjoyable and less stressful experience.

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