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Here's how a new Department of Transportation airlines rule could save you money

The new rule is expected to go into effect by October
Posted at 5:42 PM, Apr 26, 2024

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A new Department of Transportation rule now requires all airlines to give customers a full refund if their flight is canceled or delayed by more than three hours.

"It's very frustrating," a traveler at the Palm Beach International Airport told WPTV. "I've had an airline cancel my flight and I never even got my money back. They canceled it."

Fortunately for travelers, earlier this week, the Department of Transportation announced a new rule requiring all airlines to give their customers a full cash refund if their flight is canceled or delayed by more than three hours.

 Richard Taylor a traveler and retired commercial airline pilot April 26 2024
Retired commercial airline pilot and traveler Richard Taylor says previously it was hassle trying to get refund from an airline.

WPTV reached out to the DOT for clarity to see if this includes delays and cancellations related to the weather and they said it includes all delays and cancellations, for any reason.

"The refund thing, I've run into that. Bought a ticket, go to get a refund, search through the website for two days and find the key to get to it," Richard Taylor, a traveler and retired commercial airline pilot, said.

In the announcement on DOT's website, they said in part:

"At the height of the pandemic in 2020, refund complaints peaked at 87 percent of all air travel service complaints received by DOT. Refund problems continue to make up a substantial share of the complaints that DOT receives."

"It's been a long time coming, because let's face it, anybody that's been on an airline and has requested things or has had issues has had to wait," Pete Trabucco, an airline and aviation expert, said.

Trabucco said this change will require an automatic and prompt refund, with no long wait periods.

"This new administration that we have decided no, that's the end of it," Trabucco said. "President Biden came on board and said look we've got to do something about this and we've got to do something about this now."

Pete Trabucco an airline and aviation expert April 26 2024.png
Airline and aviation expert Pete Trabucco says the new rule is long overdue.

The new rule is expected to go into effect by October.

"Now finally the people have a way of getting their money back," a PBIA traveler said.

WPTV reached out to all of the major carriers at PBIA for a response to the change.

United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines responded and pointed WPTV to a statement from Airlines for America.