Attorney General Raoul Urges U.S. Department Of Transportation To Strengthen Rules For Airline Ticket Refunds And Consumer Protections

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Chicago – As travelers nationwide prepare for the busy holiday season, Attorney General Kwame Raoul urges the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to strengthen protections for airline consumers and provide meaningful relief to those whose flights are unexpectedly canceled or significantly delayed.

“As families travel during the busy holiday season, delayed and canceled flights waste hours and even days that should be spent with loved ones,” Raoul said. “Any time of year, passengers should be able to count on airlines to get them to their destinations without long delays, unexpected cancellations or spikes in ticket prices. I’m calling on the U.S. Department of Transportation to adopt rules that would ensure airlines provide relief to those who experience cancellations and long delays not related to inclement weather. I will continue to advocate for Illinois consumers to be treated fairly when they fly.”

Raoul joined a bipartisan coalition of 34 attorneys general in sending the comment letter regarding the department’s proposed new rules for airline ticket refunds and consumer protections. Raoul and the attorneys general urge the DOT to adopt a framework that ensures it promptly responds to and addresses concerns brought to the agency by state attorneys general. The coalition is also asking the DOT to develop clearer protocols to ensure timely and effective enforcement.

Recommendations in the letter include the following:

  • The DOT should require airlines to advertise and sell only flights that they have adequate personnel to fly and support, and should perform regular audits of airlines to ensure compliance and impose fines on airlines that do not comply.
  • The DOT should make clear that it will impose significant fines for cancellations and extended delays that are not weather-related or otherwise unavoidable.
  • The DOT should prohibit airlines from canceling flights while upselling consumers more expensive alternative flights to the same destinations.
  • The DOT should require that credits and vouchers for future travel that are provided by airlines in the event of cancellations can be used easily without inappropriate limitations.

Raoul is joined in sending the letter to the DOT by the attorney generals of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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