Early last week, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao today announced two additional steps by the Department regarding airline service obligations and consumer protections in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and to assist the Nation’s economic recovery.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao says the Department of Transportation received more than 25,000 complaints from air travelers in March and April, so this week her department issued a second enforcement notice to airlines. This notice provides answers to some of the most common questions about refunds to help consumers understand their rights and to ensure airlines and ticket agents are complying with aviation consumer protection requirements.
According to the original enforcement notice, originally issued on April 3rd, 2020, DOT says airlines have an obligation to provide a refund to a ticketed passenger when the carrier cancels or significantly changes the passenger’s flight.
“Our rules require that if an airline cancels a flight, the passenger is entitled to a prompt refund,” Chao said in a recent video.
A YouTube video posted May 16th records a call allegedly between a airline passenger who is seeking a refund for a flight and a United Airlines customer service representative. In the video, which Freight Broker Live has not authenticated at this time, the alleged United Airlines Customer Service representative tells the passenger that their ticket does not qualify for a refund, even after the caller reads the enforcement action notice to the rep.
“The Department has received an unprecedented volume of complaints from passengers and is examining this issue closely to ensure that airlines’ policies and practices conform to DOT’s refund rules,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. “The Department is asking all airlines to revisit their customer service policies and ensure they are as flexible and considerate as possible to the needs of passengers who face financial hardship during this time.”
Chao says by law, air carriers must be truthful with all passengers cautioning that if they are not, they will face the enforcement action of the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to KXAN.