During the epidemic, complaints about airlines' refusal to refund for canceled flights soared by more than 5500% year-on-year.
During the epidemic, complaints about airlines' refusal to refund for canceled flights soared by more than 5500% year-on-year. Some customers are still struggling to get refunds from airlines, while others get credits or vouchers instead of refunds, and they find that these vouchers may expire soon.
According to the National Public Radio (NPR) report, since March 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation has received more than 90,000 complaints. The number of complaints so far is 57 times as much as the complaints in 2019. Aviation consultant Bill McGee said, "I have never seen a single problem that has caused so much consumer dissatisfaction. The statistics can not be calculated by the chart anymore, and this situation has been going on for 14 months." He predicts that the amount that airlines need to refund is between 10 billion and 15 billion U.S. dollars, but it is unreasonable for airlines to default on refunds because they have obtained billions of funds given by the federal government to maintain operations.
However, American Airlines claims that its seven member airlines have refunded nearly 13 billion U.S. dollars to customers, even if it lost 100 million U.S. dollars every day in 2020. The spokesperson tells reporters that except the billions of dollars in travel points issued to customers in 2020, these refunds accounts for almost 20% of operating income.
Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts call on airlines to provide cash refunds instead of credits and cancel the validity period of vouchers. They say they will introduce legislation to force airlines to take both measures at the same time.
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