San Francisco Chronicle

Feds examine airline refunds


The Transporta­tion Department is detailing efforts it says it is making to help airline customers who were wrongfully denied refunds after flights were canceled or changed during the pandemic.

The department says in a new report that it investigat­ed 20 airlines over failures to issue prompt refunds to customers, and 18 of those probes are still active.

The department disclosed that an examinatio­n into United Airlines was dropped in January after the airline took steps resulting in “thousands” of customers getting refunds.

In June, the department announced that it was seeking a $25.5 million fine against Air Canada, saying the airline improperly delayed refunds for more than 5,000 passengers by up to 13 months. The airline is fighting the penalty.

The department says it received about 30,000 complaints over refunds. At least nine airlines changed their policies to clarify that passengers are entitled to refunds, not just vouchers, when the airline cancels their flight or significan­tly changes the schedule.

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