As flight disruptions are set to continue and many more cancelled flights are expected in the upcoming months, the US government wants to protect affected passengers.
Airlines are offering to accommodate passengers for the inconvenience with meal vouchers, rebookings and even seat upgrades, however, this only builds more frustration amongst passengers as they are reluctant to provide full refunds.
Democrat lawmakers have since introduced a bill on Monday by Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts to ensure travellers get their full refunds for any inconvenience. In a statement by Markey-
“Enough is enough. Travelers are sick of wasting their valuable time fighting the airlines to receive their legally-required cash refunds. And they are tired of making flight reservations months in advance, only to face a health scare that forces them to choose between canceling a nonrefundable flight, or traveling and risking the health of their fellow passengers.”
As reported on The Hill, the mandate officially known as The Cash Refunds for Flight Cancellations Act is backed by Markey and Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Elizabeth Warren and Sheldon Whitehouse, Reps. Steve Cohen, Jesús García and Jamie Raskin are introducing a companion bill in the House.
What this means for airlines
In a telephone interview with Yahoo news, Markey said, “Americans have a right to these refunds, and they are sick and tired of fighting the airlines for them.”
Following the news, many airlines will have no choice but fully refund individuals as the cancellations may fit within their travel budget. With this new mandate enforced, it is likely to see a rise in flight costs due to the result of airlines having to refund passengers rather than give out vouchers which are provided with an expiration date and often never get used.
This resulted in an insider investigation by Wall Street Journal, discovering many major airlines had $10 billion of unused travel credits at the end of 2020.
Do you think other countries will follow suit and ensure passenger protection from airlines? Let us know in the comments.