Apr 3, 2020 - Health

DOT won't enforce cash refunds for flights canceled by coronavirus

In this image, two people wearing face masks walk through an airport while a flight attendant walks next to them

Airline passengers walk at MSP. Photo: Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via Getty Images

The Department of Transportation on Friday urged domestic and foreign airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Yes, but: The agency said it will not take enforcement action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits instead of a refund, provided that the airline promptly tells passengers they can get a refund, reminds its employees how refunds should be made, and updates its policies to make clear that it provides refunds.

  • The agency says it is giving airlines "an opportunity to become compliant" by taking the above steps.

The big picture: U.S. airlines are set to receive a $58 billion bailout from Congress as nearly 40 states have advised residents to stay in their homes and avoid unnecessary travel.

What they're saying: The agency says it is handling "an increasing number of complaints and inquiries from ticketed passengers" who say they have been denied refunds for canceled and delayed flights — and offered vouchers or credits for future travel instead.

Go deeper: A lifeline emerges for the devastated airline industry

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