If approved, a proposal from the US government will make airlines reimburse passengers for delays and even change aircraft on the flight.
The measure is being put forward by the US Department of Transportation, which has now opened for public consultation to get citizens’ views on the matter. According to the proposal, if the domestic flight is delayed by more than 3 hours or cancelled, the passenger will have a full refund of the fare, and the same will apply to international flights with cancellation or delay of more than 6 hours.
Currently, the US is one of the countries with the fewest consumer protection laws and companies need to assist the passenger only in case of overbookingnot needing to provide compensation for delays for meteorological or operational reasons.
Refunds are also only provided for cancellations when an option of accommodation on other flights, from the same company or competitors, is not possible. However, now with the new measure, it will be clearer when the passenger will be entitled.
Other points of the proposal include reimbursement if there is a change in the airport of destination or arrival (for example, if the departure from New York changes from JFK to La Guardia), if the itinerary is changed to place an unscheduled stop (connection or stopover) , or even change of aircraft, which results in a downgrade that detracts from the customer’s in-flight experience, an example being moving from a Boeing 777 to a smaller, tighter Boeing 737.
The move itself comes after a series of problems over the past holidays and summer break, in which a lack of staff, both at the airlines and in other entities such as air traffic control, caused ‘mini air chaos’ in the US. , although much smaller than the major European airport problem.