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$2.5 Million in Fines: DOT Cracks Down on Lufthansa, KLM, and South African Airways for Withholding Refunds, Totalling $900 Million in Unpaid Refunds!

DOT Fines Airlines $2.5 Million for Delayed COVID-19 Refunds

Airlines Ordered to Refund Over $900 Million to Passengers

According to Simple Flying, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has fined three major airlines—Lufthansa, KLM, and South African Airways—a total of $2.5 million for not issuing timely refunds for flights canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lufthansa and KLM were each fined $1.1 million, while South African Airways was fined $300,000. This action highlights the DOT’s commitment to ensuring passengers get their refunds when flights are canceled or significantly changed. The DOT emphasized that passengers shouldn’t have to fight for their money back when flights are disrupted.

The DOT revealed that these airlines had withheld over $900 million in refunds owed to passengers during the pandemic. Specifically, Lufthansa was required to refund $775 million, KLM $113.3 million and South African Airways up to $15.2 million. Since the pandemic began the DOT has helped return over $4 billion to consumers. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg emphasized the department’s focus on protecting passenger rights and ensuring airlines fulfill their refund obligations.

READ ALSO: Lufthansa Touches Down In Minneapolis–St. Paul For The 1st Time With Service From Frankfurt

$2.5 Million in Fines: DOT Cracks Down on Lufthansa, KLM, and South African Airways for Withholding Refunds, Totalling $900 Million in Unpaid Refunds! (PHOTO: South African)

New DOT Regulations Enhance Consumer Protections in Air Travel

In addition to the fines, the DOT has introduced new rules to protect consumer rights in air travel. These rules require airlines to provide automatic cash refunds for canceled or significantly changed flights and protect passengers from unexpected fees. The regulations, part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Reauthorization Bill 2024 ensure passengers receive refunds in the original form of payment within specific timeframes. These measures align with the European Union’s Regulation 261/2004 which sets standards for passenger compensation for flight delays and cancellations. The DOT aims to make air travel fairer and more transparent for all passengers.

Furthermore, the DOT’s new regulations aim to boost consumer confidence in air travel by ensuring passengers receive timely and automatic refunds without having to negotiate with airlines. By aligning with the EU’s strict passenger compensation rules these measures offer stronger protections and set a clear standard for handling cancellations and delays. These rules highlight the DOT’s commitment to making air travel fairer and more transparent benefiting passengers and the travel industry by building trust and accountability.

READ ALSO: Significant Expansion: An Inside Look At Air Canada’s Plan To Boost Service To India

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