Nov 14, 2022 - Economy

Frontier to pay $222 million in refunds for canceled flights

Airplanes at airport including a Frontier Airlines plane

Frontier Airlines is one of six airlines paying a total of $600 million in refunds for canceled flights. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Denver-based Frontier Airlines is set to pay $222 million in refunds for canceled flights and a $2.2 million fine, the Department of Transportation said Monday.

Driving the news: DOT said Monday that six airlines were paying back $600 million for the cancellations with Frontier having the highest amount of refunds and the largest fine.

  • The announcement comes ahead of the busy holiday travel season.
  • DOT said the fines are part of its "ongoing work to ensure Americans receive the refunds they are owed from airlines."

Meanwhile, the other airlines are TAP Portugal, Air India, Aeromexico, El Al and Avianca.

Why it matters: While air travel has rebounded from lows because of the pandemic, widespread flight disruptions caused by airline staffing shortages and weather have upended schedules and left travelers stranded or scrambling.

Yes, but: DOT said since the pandemic it has "received a flood of complaints from air travelers about airlines’ failures to provide timely refunds after they had their flights canceled or significantly changed."

What they're saying: U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said when flights are canceled passengers seeking refunds should be paid back promptly.

  • "Whenever that doesn’t happen, we will act to hold airlines accountable on behalf of American travelers and get passengers their money back," Buttigieg said in a statement.
  • “A flight cancellation is frustrating enough, and you shouldn’t also have to haggle or wait months to get your refund,” he said.

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