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Full Refund in Cases of Canceled or Delayed Flights in the United States

The administration of President Joe Biden recently enacted regulations aimed at ensuring a fairer and more transparent experience for airline passengers. Issued by the Department of Transportation, these final rules require airlines to automatically issue cash refunds for canceled and delayed flights, while also increasing the disclosure of fees associated with services such as checked baggage and reservation changes.


One of the key changes is the clearer definition of "significant delays." Now, delays lasting at least three hours for domestic flights and six hours for international flights will be considered significant, automatically triggering the requirement for cash refunds by the airlines. Previously, this decision was subject to the airlines' discretion.


Additionally, the new rules stipulate deadlines for refunds of checked baggage fees, ensuring that passengers receive compensation if their bags are not delivered within a certain timeframe. This applies to both domestic and international flights, with specific deadlines for each scenario.


Transparency is also a significant focus of these regulations. Airlines are now required to disclose in advance all fees associated with services, such as checked baggage and seat selection. These fees must be clearly presented to customers at the time they view prices and flight schedules on the airlines' websites.


Another significant measure is ensuring that passengers have clear information about guaranteed seats, for which they will not need to pay extra. While airlines may still charge additional fees for specific seats, such as those in the exit row or near the front of the cabin, passengers must be aware of their options without additional costs.


These changes represent a significant effort to protect passengers' rights and ensure a fair and transparent travel experience. The new rules will take effect over the next two years and reflect the Biden administration's ongoing commitment to addressing the so-called "unwanted fees" that affect air travelers.


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