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The U.S. Plans To Make Airlines Refund Fees For Delayed Bags And Wi-Fi Issues
The U.S. Department of Transportation has plans to hold airlines accountable for checked baggage that isn’t delivered in a timely fashion.
If airlines fail to deliver bags within 12 hours of the passenger’s flight within the United States or within 25 hours after an international flight, they will have to issue a refund to customers, according to the proposed outline.
It’s unclear if airlines would pay back baggage fees or the cost of the plane ticket.
Under current regulations, refunds are issued only when bags are lost. Airlines are also required to compensate passengers for “reasonable” incidental expenses that occurred as a result of the bag delay.
The bag-fee proposal is reportedly the first of several airline-consumer regulations from the Biden administration under an executive order that the president signed to crack down on anti-competitive practices, including airline fees.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The proposal would also require prompt refunds for fees on extras such as internet access if the airline fails to provide the service during the flight.
Last year, more than 100,000 consumers complained to the government about airline services with refunds being the top issue on the list.
Many consumers voiced their concerns about how airlines refused to give refunds to consumers who canceled trips because of the pandemic.
Before the pandemic, passengers paid airlines in the U.S. more than $5 billion in fees for checked bags alone, according to the Transportation Department. That number dropped to a little more than $2 billion in 2020 because of the pandemic.
“For decades, corporate consolidation has been accelerating. In over 75% of U.S. industries, a smaller number of large companies now control more of the business than they did twenty years ago,” said Biden in a statement. “The lack of competition drives up prices for consumers. As fewer large players have controlled more of the market, mark-ups (charges over cost) have tripled.”