Apr 3, 2020 - Health

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

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

Go deeper

House Democrats make their move with $500 billion transit proposal

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats unveiled a five-year, roughly $500 billion transportation proposal Wednesday aimed at bolstering mass transit and creating carbon-cutting initiatives.

Why it matters: The bill arrives as mass transit agencies are struggling with a collapse in ridership from the coronavirus pandemic, and facing a tough future as social distancing will require reduced capacity and virus-wary riders may stay away in favor of cars.

As techlash heats up again, here's who's stoking the fire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As controversies around online speech rage against a backdrop of racial tension, presidential provocation and a pandemic, a handful of companies, lawmakers and advocacy groups have continued to promote a backlash against Big Tech.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Google got a reputational boost at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, but that respite from criticism proved brief. They're now once again walking a minefield of regulatory investigations, public criticism and legislative threats over antitrust concerns, content moderation and privacy concerns.

Cities are retooling public transit to lure riders back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After being told for months to stay away from others, the idea of being shoulder to shoulder again in a bus or subway terrifies many people, requiring sweeping changes to public transit systems for the COVID-19 era.

Why it matters: Cities can't come close to resuming normal economic activity until large numbers of people feel comfortable using public transportation.