Frontier Airlines, along with four other international carriers owe travelers million in refunds related to flight cancellations and delays.
According to a report by ABC7’s Eyewitness News, multiple airlines are facing various fines, and more specifically, Frontier Airlines is required to refund its customers. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that over $600 million have been refunded to passengers due to flight cancellations and rescheduling since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
All refunds should have already been completed. If you are a passenger/consumer that has not received your refund, you should have received a telecommunication informing you of the process of getting that refund. You also should have been made aware of this. If you have not received these correspondences, contact your local DOT.
Airlines are now being fined millions totaling $8.1 in 2022 alone, making it record-breaking numbers in civil penalties for consumer protections. Many of these fines, though, are targeting foreign airlines such as Air India, TAP Portugal, Aeromexico, El AL, and Aviana. Whereas Frontier Airlines is the only U.S. Airline facing the heat.
Many Airlines have changed not only their pricing procedures but also their policies last minute to avoid refunding these airline tickets. These changes are currently under scrutiny by the DOT, according to Pete Buttigieg, the United States Secretary of Transportation. According to Buttigieg, “We expect to get to our destination safely, reliably, and affordably.”
The reliability though is not the only issue. It is a glaring one as cancellations continue to rack up the fines on these airlines we depend on to get to where we need to be going. Consumers’ trust in the airlines is hindered even further as Frontier Airlines tries to avoid refunds.
Frontier even made a “significant schedule change” to its policy in 2020. According to Blane Workie, DOT assistant general counsel. “In essence, they were retroactively applying a more stringent rule to consumers, and I can certainly say that Frontier would not have provided these refunds to tens of thousands of passengers if DOT had not been involved,” she said.
The DOT is working night and day to improve the conditions for passengers of airlines so as to ensure safety, reliability, and affordability. According to Pete Buttigieg, “It shouldn’t take an enforcement action from the US Department of Transportation to get airlines to pay refunds that they’re required to pay. And so, I have asked the team to undertake an exercise to ensure that the fines are calibrated to deter this in the future and save passengers a lot of time and save everybody a lot.”
In response to this, Buttigieg and the DOT are targeting airlines to ensure that both laws and regulations are being adhered to. Though there are no current pending refund investigations against U.S Airlines. Coming the Holidays, that may change.
As we approach the holidays, we face another surge in cancellations and rescheduling. Through a combination of poor weather and a lack of pilots cause unsafe flying conditions. As cancelations and rescheduling continue, more and more airlines are facing community backlash.
AAA claims that this will be one of the largest volumes of passengers since the pandemic, reaching almost 54.6 million. And the delays and cancellations are already reaching astronomical numbers. There may be more refunds and fines in the future for these airlines.