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Passengers Are Now Entitled to a Full Cash Refund for Canceled Flights, 'Significant' Delays The U.S. Department of Transportation announced new rules for commercial passengers on Wednesday.

By Emily Rella

Travelers inconvenienced by flight delays and cancellations will no longer have to worry about fighting for a refund thanks to new regulations passed by the U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday.

Passengers on domestic flights delayed three hours more or international flights delayed six hours or more will be entitled to an automatic cash refund for the entire flight price. Canceled flights will also make travelers eligible for a refund.

Related: Airlines Made $33 Billion on Baggage Fees in 2023: Report

According to the new rules, refunds must be issued within a few days.

Airlines can still try to offer passengers the option of a new flight or travel credit instead of a cash refund, but passengers now have the legal right to waive those options.

The automatic nature of the refunds means that affected passengers won't have to issue a request or file a complaint to be compensated for their disruptions.

"Passengers deserve to get their money back when an airline owes them — without headaches or haggling," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a press release on Wednesday. "Our new rule sets a new standard to require airlines to promptly provide cash refunds to their passengers."

In addition to cash refunds, the DOT also issued new guidance on checked luggage — if a bag is not delivered within a 12-hour window after a passenger's flight lands on a domestic flight or within 30 hours of an international flight, airlines will have to issue refunds on the checked-bag fee, which vary depending on the airline.

Customers will also receive fee refunds if they pay for extra amenities, but are not provided with them during their flight, such as Wi-Fi or seat selection.

Related: United Airlines Loses $2 Billion After Waiving Change Fees

The new rules are a part of the administration's plan to eliminate "surprise junk fees." Buttigieg said airlines now must explain all extra fees "clearly, conspicuously, and accurately" when showing a fare price for purchase.

"To be clear, we want the airline sector to thrive," Buttigieg said at a press conference at the Ronald Reagan Airport on Wednesday. "It's why we're being so rigorous on passenger protection. This will build confidence in air travel at a time when airlines need to do more to secure passengers' trust."

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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