The US Department of Transportation has published proposed new rules which would require airlines to refund customers in the event of ancillary services not being provided.
Passengers are currently entitled to a refund of fees where checked luggage is lost, but the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) goes a step further, requiring carriers to refund checked luggage fees when the baggage is delayed beyond 12 hours for domestic flights and beyond 25 hours for international flights.
The NPRM would also “require airlines to promptly provide a refund to a passenger of any fees paid for ancillary services anytime that the services are not provided by the airline” – examples given include advance seat selection and inflight wifi.
Current rules require airlines to refund fees for services that were not provided “only due to an oversale situation or flight cancellation”.
The Department said that was acting on President Biden’s recent Executive Order Promoting Competition in the American Economy.
Commenting on the news US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, said:
“Consumers deserve to receive the services they pay for or to get their money back when they don’t. This proposed rule would require airlines to refund fees to passengers whose bags are significantly delayed or who don’t receive the services that they paid for.”
In February 2020, shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, it was reported that airlines took $75.6 billion in ancillary revenue globally in 2019, with US and Canadian carriers accounting for $14.8 billion of this figure.