So you're at the airport, waiting for your delayed flight to board. And waiting. And waiting.

Now your flight is cancelled and you just need to grab another flight to get where you're going. Travel vouchers and the first flight out tomorrow isn't going to work for you.

Under new government rules announced this morning, you'll have more options in dealing with that cancellation or significant change to your flight.


Flying always feels like a crapshoot. Is your flight going to be on-time? Will you make your connecting flight? Are they going to lose your suitcase?

None of us are made of money and when things go wrong, they can throw a major wrench in our travel plans.

Under new US Transportation Department rules, airlines need to promptly provide passengers with automatic cash refunds if their flight is "significantly changed."

"Significant change" includes:

  • a change of more than 3 hours in departure or arrival times on domestic flights;
  • a change of more than 6 hours in departure or arrival times on domestic flights;
  • arrivals or departures from a different airport;
  • increases in the number of connections;
  • if you're downgraded to a lower class of services;
  • or connections at different airports or flights on different planes that are less accessible for a person with a disability.

In other words, if you're not getting what you paid for, you can get your money back -- and more quickly.


The Transportation Department is requiring airlines to refund your money automatically, in cash or the original form of payment, promptly (within 7 business days) and in the full amount. And the airline has to notify you of your right to a refund on the ticket and extra service fees.



If you don't get your checked bags within 12 hours of your domestic flight arriving or 15-30 hours of your international flight pulling into the airport, you can get your checked bag fee refunded.



If you pay for extras on your flight -- Wi-Fi, specific seats, inflight entertainment -- and you don't get that on your flight -- you are entitled for a refund for those extras.



If you've booked a flight -- but because of travel restrictions due to a serious communicable disease -- the airlines have to provide transferable travel credits or vouchers that are good for at least five years.


“Passengers deserve to get their money back when an airline owes them -- without headaches or haggling,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Our new rule sets a new standard to require airlines to promptly provide cash refunds to their passengers.”

Airlines have six months to enact the automatic refunds process. And they have a year to set-up the travel credit and voucher system.


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