Airlines will now be required to give automatic cash refunds for canceled and delayed flights.

The Department of Transportation (DOT), headed by Pete Buttigieg, also announced airlines will have to reveal ‘junk fees’ upfront. (See added money for seat selection.)


Pete Buttigieg said Wednesday that the regulations as “the biggest expansion of passenger rights in the department’s history.”



The new rules attack some of the most common complaints against airlines, such as delays and difficulties getting refunds.

Up till now, airlines offered miles or vouchers for significant delays and canceled flights. And the airlines got to decide what constituted a ‘significant delay.’

The new rule defines what constitutes a “significantly changed” flight: a delay of at least three hours for a domestic flight and at least six hours for an international flight.

The new rules will take effect over the next year (probably not in time for the busy summer travel season.)