Flight cancellations at airport. (photo via structuresxx / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Amidst what is arguably the worst and craziest summer of airline travel in memory, politicians have had enough of the delays and cancellations.
Barely a week after U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) called on the Department of Transportation to provide better scrutiny of the industry, her Democratic colleagues are taking it a step further.
Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee are spearheading and proposing a bill that would mandate airlines give full cash refunds to passengers whose flights are canceled.
Future credits and flight vouchers don’t cut it, the legislators said.
“Americans have a right to these refunds, and they are sick and tired of fighting the airlines for them,” Markey told Yahoo News in a telephone interview. “Booking travel months ahead is hard and (a) stressful. Plans change. Consumers should not be forced to eat that cost if they’ve given airlines reasonable notice.”
The proposed bill is called the Cash Refunds for Flight Cancellations Act. In addition to offering flight credits or a voucher, airlines would be mandated to offer a cash refund within 30 days of a flight being canceled.
“The airlines often push vouchers even in cases where passengers are entitled to cash refunds. Consumers must be made aware by the airlines that they have a cash option,” William McGee, an aviation expert at the American Economic Liberties Project, told Yahoo News.
John Breyault, vice president of public policy, telecommunications, and fraud at the National Consumers League, said the bill is “long overdue.”
“(Airlines) love having these vouchers, because it’s basically free money on their books,” Breyault told Yahoo.
For the latest travel news, updates and deals, subscribe to the daily TravelPulse newsletter.