Mississippi News

Fitch supports new rules to protect airline consumers

As families and airlines nationwide prepare for the bustling holiday travel season, Attorney General Lynn Fitch joined a bipartisan coalition of 34 Attorneys General in urging the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to strengthen protections for airline consumers and provide meaningful relief to those whose flights are unexpectedly canceled or significantly delayed.

“Air travel has become an integral part of family and business plans,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch. “Unfortunately, airlines have had a lot more leverage than average consumers, leaving those consumers with little recourse when flights are delayed or canceled. These proposed rules will give Mississippians more protection when travel plans are unexpectedly changed.”

In the letter regarding the Department’s proposed new rules for airline ticket refunds and consumer protections, the Attorneys General urge the USDOT to adopt a new framework that will allow State Attorneys General to get a prompt response and assistance when they bring consumer complaints to the agency. Other recommendations in the letter include:

Airlines should be required to provide refunds when delays exceed a floor number of hours:

  • USDOT should make clear that the agency will impose significant fines for cancellations or extended delays that are not weather-related or otherwise unavoidable;
  • Airlines should be required to provide partial refunds to passengers when cancellations result in a rescheduled flight that the passenger may accept but are later, longer, or otherwise less valuable to the consumer;
  • Airlines should be prohibited from advertising and selling flights that they do not have adequate personnel to fly and support;
  • USDOT should prohibit airlines from canceling flights while upselling consumers more expensive alternative flights to the same destinations; and
  • USDOT should require that credits and vouchers for future travel that are provided by airlines in the event of cancellation can be used easily without inappropriate limitations.  

The Attorneys General from Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, and New York led the letter to USDOT. Joining them are the attorneys general of Alaska, California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Read the letter here.