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Automatic Refunds and No More Hidden Fees: D.O.T. Sets New Rules for Airlines

The Transportation Department issued new requirements on refunds when flights are canceled or delayed and on revealing “junk” fees before booking. ( More...

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Chris Nixon 19
In addition to this, isn’t it time to allow the name on the ticket to be changed when issued with incorrect spelling without resort to buying a new ticket and losing tax feed
I never cease to be amazed that the USA, which produced Ralph Nader and his game-changing assault on poor automobiles, aka Consumer Protection, is today the country with the worst consumer protection in the western world.

You use your card to pay for something and without a blink of an eye, pay a 'convenience fee' on top. What is that? A fee you pay somebody in order to pay them for something? For whose 'convenience'?
Retail prices are quoted before tax. Surely the vast majority of retail customers gain nothing by that trick.
There are huge signs in shop windows declaring EVERYTHING UP TO 70% OFF - meaning it includes all that stuff that is full price, which is ZERO off, so technically correctly included in 'UP TO' 70% off!

Why do people feel the need to try to fool their customers that things are cheaper than they really are? And why are American consumers so gullible, and/or so sheep-like in accepting such deceptions.

The airlines are simply taking advantage of the silence of their passengers in the face of the daily ripoffs they accept as 'normal'.
Nigel Rigg 16
In Europe, 'convenience fees' for credit card transactions were made illegal some years ago.
You don't appear to realize it but you are paying the "convenience fee", one way or another.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

alex hidveghy 4
It did in the UK, thank you very much!
After an almost 4 hour delay at LHR on a trans-Atlantic flight including a return to the gate, I got monetary compensation PLUS frequent flyer points after I complained. They were required to do that because of their passenger laws.
When was the last time that happened to you and you missed your meeting, lost your bag and had to pay for your hotel?
Not everyone is a sheep.
Frank Barrett 3
Years ago, it was not normal for such fees to be tacked onto credit card purchases, but that quietly changed.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

alex hidveghy 6
Ya mean like stock buybacks? Or golden parachute retirements for CEOs when their companies have actually lost money, laid off hundreds if not thousands, but he still gets a friggin bonus.
Give me communism any day, pal!
That’s why American manufacturing has gone down the toilet the past 30 years!
You must not have been watching Boeing’s woes the past 5 years, huh? And how many CEOs have gone bye bye there? Bet none of them left empty handed.
Caveat emptor doesn’t even come in to it, but corruption certainly does…..
mcalant -3
You’ll take communism any day?
The 100 million people killed in the name of communism would disagree.
I suggest you do some research on what the commercial aviation industry was like in the old USSR if you think it’s so bad now.
alex hidveghy 3
In the context of the conversation, absolutely!
Also, I happen to know a thing or two about communism - far more than your average American. And if that is not enough for you! I also spent over 30 years in the airline/aviation business in two, different countries in various positions. So, spare me the lecture, I lived it!
John Arkoulis 1
I think you took it out of context. Think about Boeing, the cover up they tried after two of their newest plane go down and that nobody (NOBODY) was held responsible. This total corruption is the bad face of capitalism so people get rightfully upset.
alex hidveghy 1
It was another example of accountability when things go wrong. And not listening to people. Quite simple, really…….there’s plenty of evidence of corporate greed and then all hell breaks loose when it’s discovered…..why are people so surprised?
Do you understand the root cause of the problems at Boeing?
alex hidveghy 1
Yes. I listen to the local as well as national news! And I’ve been in aviation my entire life. So to answer your question, it’s a resounding yes!
And I’ve seen at least 3 documentaries on the subject so am very familiar. Are you?
So, in your incredibly well-informed (purportedly) opinion, exactly what is the root-cause of the current struggles at Boeing?
alex hidveghy 1
That’s too easy! Being well-informed and having a bit of experience never hurts.
Corrupt management putting profits before safety and employees. Why do I have to tell you what’s been all over the news for at least the last few years?
You don’t know they outsourced production all over the place and moved corporate from the Seattle area to Chicago?
And with zero oversight. With their own inspectors pretending to be the FAA and signing off sub-standard work? You don’t know any of this? Wow. Where have you been!
BTW, I have two family members, now retired, that used to work for them so I know more than most on this thread.
When did they start going downhill? Most say when they merged with the ailing McDonnell Douglas. Profits at all costs over everything else never works real good, not in the long run. A manufacturing company ran by bean counters instead of engineers now has a problem.
And, as a well-known airline entrepreneur once remarked, it takes years to build a solid reputation, but it only takes a matter of weeks or months to totally destroy that reputation…….
You asked, so that’s my opinion.
What’s yours?
You are listing symptoms of the malady...

...what is the specific/underlying disease causing said symptoms?
dkenna 3
Looks like Alex took his ball and went home...LOL.

The root cause is Boeing's status as a publicly traded company.
alex hidveghy 2
I told you what the cause was but you chose to ignore it. That’s up to you. The guy above stated it more succinctly - GREED.
Happy now?
Either way, they’re paying the price for their follies. As they should……
You are like Howard Cosell -- a master of the obvious...

...but completely lacking any understanding of the nuance -- a simpleton if you will. ;-)

alex hidveghy 2
Still flapping your lips, I see……
Looks like a white flag to me...

...been fun, cheers mate.
Seems we have a hater of all things USA 🇺🇸 here folks!
James Eaton -6
"Retail prices are quoted before tax."
Mainly because it depends on where the ticket was purchased - each State sets it's own sales tax amount.
Purchasers know that any fare quoted is subject to the State they are in at the time of purchase sales tax - so, someone travelling who buys a fare in a State different to where they reside, will have to pay the sales tax of the State they are presently in.
John Arkoulis 5
The amount of tax does make a difference in the final price but it is part of the amount that comes out of your pocket. All over the world except US and Canada the prices displayed include the tax because that’s what you need to pay to get the item. On the receipt it shows the tax amount separately if you really need to onow
If it's that big of a deal to you just ask, the retailer will gladly give you a total including tax.

(or you could take your brain for a spin, and do the math yourself ;)
D Chinn 8
It's WAY past time we did this.

About 10 years ago I took the fast train from Graz, Austria, to Berlin. It was forty-five minutes late. My host took us to the train office and we got a prompt refund / adjustment on our trip.

Two years later I took Amtrak's Acela (fast train) from NYC to Boston. The train broke down, and we changed trains by walking a PLANK to another train, and we arrived four hours late. No apology, no adjustment, nothing.

It's way past time.
Scott Sample 12
I applaud these new rules. A bit watered down compared to the European EU261 rules, which are more nuanced, but they are a step in the right direction. And making refunds automatic is definitely good. Even in Europe, where I do much of my flying, EU261 compensation usually has to be asked for, or occasionally fought for.
Kudos to the Feds and especially the Transportation Secretary Buttigieg for getting this done!.
Chris B 6
Closer to the EEC standards for consumer rights.

Doesn't mean anyone is happy though. Consumers still want to get there.
after the last few years of many airlines having issues with delays and cancellations,particularly around holiday and busy times,and the tremendous number of camplaints ,letters,e mails,texts, phone calls etcetera ,to the faa,as well as to indiviudal airlines,i think the feds decided it was time to step in...passengers will always get upset about one thing or another,and most of them ARE NOT patient with regard to a delay,nor waiting in a line to speak with a real human customer service rep..the airlines are not in financial straits at this time,with the exception of the issues with boeing aircraft..the new rules should not affect their bottom line,and if anything,will make people less apprehensive about buying a ticket!
Cleffer 6
I like it.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

dkenna 11
Why do you think this will raise prices?
Lance Neward 1
Because the apolitical laws of economics say so. One doesn't get something for nothing.
dkenna 2
I purchase a ticket. The airline screws up, i get a refund/compensation for the error or whatever from the money I have already given them. Are you suggesting the airlines are going to raise ticket prices “just in case” there is a delay or mx problem?
alex hidveghy 7
Rubbish! Over in Europe and the UK, they’ve had this for several years now. It’s always fun watching the US catching up with the rest of the world!
In fact, it was the same with the financial sector, too. Over the pond they had chip and PIN, and contactless credit/debit cards for 10 years befire the US reluctantly caught on.
Better late, than never, eh?!
"Over in...over the..."

...blah blah blah.

Find some other place (w/ likeminded haters) to spew your drivel pal.
alex hidveghy 3
Slow day, huh? Can’t take the criticism?
Your incessant bloviating in no way constitutes any sort of informed "criticism"...LOL...

...but rather, generic posturing akin to me assuming you've just finished grooming your wanker's badge before ignoring that horrendous set of gnashers you inherited from your genetically flawed forbearers.
alex hidveghy 1
And who would that be, Einstein?
alex hidveghy 1
You seem butt hurt, buddy. Hugged a flag recently or what?
I see you’ve accumulated quite a few red, negative points. Somewhat telling, isn’t it? You seem to be in the minority with your views.
But hey, that’s perfectly fine, makes it more interesting watching you bash others with your superior attitude……
I bet you run roughshod all over Al Gore's internets with such cutting repartee!

Are you going to invoke "Mom's basement" next?


Serious question, how do you feel about America?

A. I, Alex, love the (formerly great) United States of America.

B. I, Alex, hate the United States of America.

What say ye?
alex hidveghy 1
The troll raises its ugly head! Again. Poor stone.
Why are you afraid to answer the question?

Do you love The United States of America? Or not?

Get on the record Alex...
DM Mitchell 3
While I definitely object to the alleged “convenience fees,” I find charging for baggage even more reprehensible. I still can’t believe the airlines were able to get away with this. Fortunately I don’t fly that often and when I do it is with Southwest Airlines.
Mark Guyton 4
Now if only the D.O.T. would do something about a flight pushing back to get an on-time departure, only to sit on the tarmac waiting for long times before actual takeoff (maybe no longer than :20-:30, otherwise don’t load the flight?)
alex hidveghy 1
They already do! It’s called a gate hold or ground stop. I’ve known about them for over a decade. And am very familiar with ATC procedures and airline ops……..
Brent Bahler 2
The “red line” between capitalism and greed is thinner these days. Consumer faith in the former is low amid the lack of transparency by big corporate entities, outsized compensation for corporate executives, and calls by business interests to reduce or eliminate government regulations and reduce taxes leave many with a sense that those at the top get benefits they don’t deserve.
Steve Tarr 2
The concept to protect consumers may be good but let's hope flight readiness safety is not compromised to avoid costs.
It will be interesting to see how well they follow the new law.
Frank Barrett 3
Good, now the gummint needs to do something about our crazy "health care" system!
Does the airline have to pay when the delay is caused by ATC staffing shortages, Ground Stops, or Ground Delay Programs over which the airline has no control? Can the airline pass the bill to FAA due to years of inadequate controller hiring?
alex hidveghy 4
Don’t know about the impending US law but in Europe, you have to meet certain criteria which are published in order to get compensation for either delays or cancellations. It is laid out very clearly. ATC related, weather and airport operator issues are NOT covered and are explicitly mentioned as such.
If it’s airline operations like a load sheet issue, or within the airline’s control, then yes, you would be eligible. But you have to claim it. It’s not automatic and you do it on the airlines website. I’ve done it recently.
Sheldon Lang 1
I'll believe it when I see it
ko25701 1
It's a slippery slope when the regulations end up putting more airlines into bankruptcy. Airlines are already fudging planned departure and arrival times to account for inevitable delays.
I am.all for transparent pricing, so bravo for that.
alex hidveghy 1
Airlines have been going bankrupt since the beginning of time!
You remember Pan Am, Eastern, TWA, Western Pacific and many, many more.
Very bad example to use since it’s the obvious it’s not tied in to bankruptcies
Marilyn Tully 1
Let’s not dump on the US alone. I recently changed a ticket on Eurostar from 1pm to 10am same day and was charged $320 additional. I called customer service but they wouldn’t budge. Nor would they let me keep the original time slot.
Adrian Borza 1
I'd like to see THAT!!!!!

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

dkenna 20
Well; if companies weren’t so greedy and didn’t operate with shady practices we wouldn’t have a need for the guvmint to help! Instead, they will jeopardize safety and screw the pax any chance they can. And there is more to it than “hidden fees”. It is holding the industry to a higher standard for the benefit of the public. Do you think this is a bad thing?
alex hidveghy 3
EXACTLY! It really isn’t rocket science, not unless you want it to be……and yes, it’s much more than that. Heavens forbid that an airline might have to pay compensation for an extensive delay like 3 or 4 or more hours at an airport, or worse, a cancelation and then you have to pay for a hotel and wait for reimbursement which can take months!!
You seem to have very very bad luck with the airlines...

Personally I don't have much regard for the airlines, think of them in the same terms as cell-phone providers and New York City gyms --- it's a function of which is the least evil ;).

But you, your gut is a boiling cauldron of seething hate for USA based airlines --- a level of hate hitherto unknown to the people of this area yet destined to take the place of the mudshark in your mythology...'s not healthy fella --- let it go!!

That said, are you really waiting for "months" to resolve travel related problems with the domestic airlines? If so, you're clearly not as sophisticated as it goes to managing said service providers as claim to be.

I can help you better understand if you are interested...
alex hidveghy 0
You seem very agitated and angry for some reason. Are you always this triggered? You also speak in riddles which is fascinating but troubling at the same time.
And last but not least, I think I have a wee bit more experience on airlines than you do, like 30 plus years. Can you top that? I doubt it very much just like I doubt you could teach me anything new.
And I have absolutely NO idea what you mean by bad luck with airlines!? What makes you think that?!
Perhaps if you put that beer or weed down, and actually listen to others instead of going on unadulterated rants. Sad really.
No, I’m not waiting months for anything. Not with US airlines, anyway. Again, what made you think that? Do you have a habit of putting words in others mouths? Strange fellow.
Au contraire Alex, I'm having fun here ;).

Alex said:

"...then you have to pay for a hotel and wait for reimbursement which can take months!!"

So, you see, Alex, it was you that said "reimbursement can take months3".

All you do is complain and then use pretzel logic in an effort to make everything a "United States" problem.

Alex, you may know how to fly a plane (my Dad would have flown circles around your lame jacksie) but you know absolutely nothing about the business of business.
alex hidveghy 1
You’re not too bright, are you?
I was referrin To some folks that had a legitimate complaint on another social media who varied GREATLY in their individual outcomes! I wasn’t referring in that instance that that pertained to me only.
I did have a complaint. Once and it was dealt with in several weeks. I was eligible, made the right moves and got compensated. Why are you so angry about that?
And it might behove you to listen and NOT make numerous assumptions. Which are patently false.
You sound like very low hanging fruit who cannot sort the wheat from the chaff.
And you thought I was talking about a US airline, too?! Whatever gave you that impression? You clearly don’t know what you're talking about.
Blah blah blah...

You're lucky you don't have to pay by the word to post pure dreck and drivel like that!

Alex, do you love The United States of America, or not?
Neil49 8
Scariest words an airline CEO can hear: "I'm from the federal government, and I'm here to help you understand why the airline industry is so widely despised by its customers."
rmchambers -7
Well if any outfit should understand being despised it's
alex hidveghy 3
This time it’s the airlines! Just ask all the disgruntled passengers who are being ripped off……
alex hidveghy 2
This mostly about delay and cancellation COMPENSATION, not just change fees.
In Europe, they’ve been compensating passengers if they were eligible and had reasonable cause.
In fact, I just got compensated by BA in both monetary and frequent flyer points for an almost 4-hour delay on a LHRLAS sector. By law. But you have to apply, they don’t openly advertise it. You gotta know where to look and apply through the proper channels. But you don’t always get what you want either……
Rick D 0
Let's also get rid of the 'how to use a seatbelt' portion of the preflight booking. If you could wade through the rat-maze of the booking process, you can probably figure out the seatbelt thing on your own.
So the airlines will calculate the likelihood of needing to refund, then include those costs on the price. On the other hand some passengers will figure out which flights are likely to be cancelled, claim equity for getting their refund, so some added costs there.
alex hidveghy 1
Good luck trying to predict that! Like most things in life, airlines have both good days/weeks/months/years as well as bad ones. I also know a thing or two about gambling as I live in LAS, but I don’t fancy your odds…..
Lance Neward 2
The airlines are pretty good doing those statistical calculations, just as insurance companies are for their customers. By way of example only, and just like LAS casinos, the odds of a particular flight being overbooked on a particular day and at a particular time and between a particular city pair are pretty well known by the various carriers, and their fares reflect that. Because flights were being excessively overbooked, the airlines were finally forced, by the government, to pay Denied Boarding Compensation, and anyone who travels a lot has probably that system at work. The system of DBC fundamentally works pretty well. There are those passengers who try to "game the system" and they are sometimes successful in getting X dollars or free tickets, but it actually makes little difference to an airline who gets the DBC, only that it needs to be paid, because the government says so.

I would submit a few perspectives, using DBC as an example:
One, to get to that point (of having something like DBC) in a system takes an outside force with sufficient power to stand up to an organization as big as the airline industry, i.e. the government, and they did so, and can do so in other areas, too, and have to some extent.

Two, The airlines have a vested interest in calculating their overbookings to a very accurate level, but yes, the cost of the DBC is built into a ticket at some proportion. There's no other way to do it. Fortunately, DB's are actually pretty small, even though they loom large in the eyes of the traveler affected.

Three, we the people have to keep pushing on our representatives in government to have them push on air travel issues that are important to us--delays, cancellations, "hidden" fees, (which aren't really hidden if one takes the time to read the ticket) and especially, clarifying what is gracefully called "Conditions of Carriage". We can do it, not quickly nor easily, but change can be wrought.

Alex is right, our odds are not good, but we can work on making them better--keep pushing on the government employees, at every level, and especially at the ballot box when that force is available, to change the things we want changed. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."

Literally EVERYTHING is better "over in" yet you have chosen to live in a land you hate...

...why? (and GTFO)
alex hidveghy 6
Why are you so hurt?
Explaining facts is supposed to help people understand. Not everything in the world is insular or better than in the US. I merely gave two examples. They’re clearly playing catch up here. That’s all!
Nothing to do with anything else.
Unless you want it to…….sigh.
I thought most people can take some constructive criticism. Some, apparently not.
So your purpose here is to "help people understand"?

Is that right?

Why do you live in The (formerly great) United States of America if you so despise it?

Seriously, why?
alex hidveghy 1
You’re not listening or digesting, are you?
No wonder you sound so confused!…..
Knowledge is power and you don’t seem to have much of that, do you?
Alex, how do you feel about the United States of America?

Love it?

Hate it?

Let's get you on the record pal...
patrick lynch -5
One thing the world does not need is more Laws and regulations or taxes, please have some self-accountability ...Do your due diligence... you were a responsible person once in your lifetime..
Have some patience common courtesy and consideration for others, This is what the world needs,
Have a Nice Day :)
alex hidveghy 3
Did you tell that to Boeing? Did they comply or take short cuts to protect the bottom line?
Or how about that crypto whizz kid ? SBF? Did he have checks and balances or was it insatiable greed and you can’t touch me? Where is he now?
Looks like “self-accountability “ sounds great, but not a lot of people are practicing it, are they?!
You know, if they did, then perhaps there wouldn’t BE a need for rules and regulations…….
Where is Nick Leeson now?

Where were your supposedly great UK Government Central Scrutinizers when Barings Bank really needed them?

How the heck did that happen?!?
alex hidveghy 1
Good movie!
Another upcoming one will be the crypto kid SFB. Make sure you catch that one…….
alex hidveghy 1
You don’t read much, or follow the news, do you?
Now you want me to do YOUR homework? Wow.

Please explain...
Peter Hansen 0
Just to access this site you have to make several adjustments to avoid certain cookies. Once adjustments made you have to do it all over again when rejoining at a different time. How frustrating! Why the hassle


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