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Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) - Order 2023-7-8

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP) has determined that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Scandinavian Airlines System Denmark-Norway-Sweden (SAS) routinely failed to provide timely refunds to passengers for flights to and from the United States that the carrier cancelled or significantly changed in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 41712 (Section 41712) and 14 CFR Part 259. Since March 2020, the Department has received over 700 informal complaints and one formal complaint1 alleging that SAS failed to provide refunds after cancelling or significantly changing consumers’ flights to or from the United States. The airline has received thousands of additional complaints and refund requests directly from passengers. It appears that thousands of refund requests took over 100 days to process. Given these facts, OACP is of the view that SAS subjected thousands of consumers to extreme delay in making refunds available for flights to and from the United States that the carrier cancelled. 

On July 5, 2022, SAS AB and certain of its subsidiaries, including SAS (collectively, the “SAS Debtors”), commenced voluntary cases under chapter 11 of title 11 of the United States Code (the “Bankruptcy Code”) in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (the “Bankruptcy Court”), captioned SAS AB, et al., Case No. 22-10925 (MEW) (the “Chapter 11 Cases”). The effectiveness of this consent order is subject to the entry of an order of the Bankruptcy Court approving SAS’s entry into the consent order and the terms hereof, as set forth in more detail in ordering paragraphs 5 through 8 of the “Decision” section below. This order directs SAS to cease and desist from future similar violations of 49 U.S.C. § 41712 and 14 CFR Part 259, assesses the carrier $750,000 in civil penalties, and dismisses the formal complaint.

Last updated: Tuesday, July 18, 2023