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U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Proposed Rule to Require Airlines to Refund Fees to Consumers for Significantly Delayed Bags and Services Not Provided by the Airline

Friday, July 9, 2021

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (Department) today announced that it is publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would require airlines to refund fees for checked bags that are significantly delayed and for ancillary services, such as advance seat selection and wi-fi, when consumers pay for them but they are not provided.  The Department 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. This proposed rule would require airlines to refund fees to passengers whose bags are significantly delayed or who don’t receive the services that they paid for.” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.   
Under an existing DOT rule, passengers are entitled to a fee refund if their checked bags are lost. The NPRM announced today proposes to require airlines to also refund checked baggage fees when the baggage is delayed beyond 12 hours for domestic flights and beyond 25 hours for international flights. It also proposes to require airlines to promptly provide a refund to a passenger of any fees paid for ancillary services anytime that the services are not provided by the airline.  The Department’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.  
The NPRM can be found here
The Department’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP) assists, educates and protects aviation consumers by, reviewing and responding to consumer complaints about air travel, investigating and enforcing as appropriate violations of aviation consumer protection, civil rights and licensing requirements against airlines and ticket agents, and assessing the need for and drafting aviation consumer protection and civil rights regulations.  Additional information and resources, including information on how to file a complaint with OACP, can be found here.