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US DOT says Airlines must now pay automatic refunds for cancelled flights

US DOT says Airlines must now pay automatic refunds for cancelled flights

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a final regulation requiring airlines to quickly reimburse passengers with automatic cash refunds when owed, according to a statement made by the Biden-Harris Administration.

Under the new regulation, passengers will find it easier to get refunds when airlines dramatically alter or cancel flights, cause severe delays for checked baggage, or don’t supply the additional services they paid for.

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According to a statement from the Biden-Harris Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has published a final rule mandating airlines to promptly compensate customers with automatic cash refunds when they are eligible. The new rule would make it simpler for customers to receive refunds from airlines in cases when they drastically change or cancel flights, cause significant delays for checked luggage, or fail to provide the extra services they charged for.

Under the latest rule from the USDOT, passengers are guaranteed refunds in several scenarios:

  1. Canceled or Significantly Changed Flights: Passengers are entitled to refunds if their flight is canceled or significantly altered, including changes in departure or arrival times exceeding 3 hours domestically or 6 hours internationally, departures or arrivals from different airports, increased connections, downgrades in service class, or changes less accommodating to passengers with disabilities.
  2. Delayed Baggage Return: Passengers filing mishandled baggage reports can claim a refund for checked bag fees if their luggage is not returned within specific timeframes after flight arrival.
  3. Unprovided Extra Services: If airlines fail to deliver paid extra services like Wi-Fi, seat selection, or inflight entertainment, passengers can request refunds for those fees.

The final rule streamlines the refund process, ensuring it is:

  • Automatic: Refunds are issued automatically without requiring passengers to request them.
  • Prompt: Airlines must refund credit card purchases within seven business days and other payment methods within 20 calendar days.
  • In Original Form of Payment: Refunds are provided in the original payment method used for purchase.
  • Full Amount: Passengers receive full refunds minus the value of any portion of transportation already used, including government and airline fees.

Suggest banning family seating junk fees and ensuring that parents can travel with their kids at no additional cost. No airline promised to ensure fee-free family seating prior to efforts from President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg last year. Family seating is now guaranteed free of charge on four airlines, and the Department is working on a plan to eliminate family seating junk fees.

Propose to make passenger compensation and amenities mandatory so that travelers are taken care of when airlines cause flight delays or cancellations. 

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FAA reveals that 300 Boeing planes could result in fuel tank explosions

FAA reveals that 300 Boeing planes could result in fuel tank explosions

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has brought attention to a concerning issue with Boeing aircraft that could lead to fuel tank explosions, adding to the litany of safety concerns surrounding the aerospace giant’s products.

According to a proposed rule from the FAA, Boeing’s 777 liner has been found to have dangerously poor electrical insulation near its fuel tank, posing a significant risk of ignition and subsequent fire or explosion. This revelation comes amid heightened scrutiny of Boeing’s aircraft due to several recent incidents highlighting potential safety flaws.

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The impacted aircraft encompass nearly 300 Boeing 777s across the United States, including various models such as the 777-200, -200LR, -300, -300ER, and 777F series. In response to the discovery, the FAA has proposed a $14 million solution to address the issue across all 292 affected US-registered airplanes.

The proposed solution involves the installation of electrical bonding and grounding components in the center fuel tank, as outlined in the proposed Airworthiness Directive (AD) issued by the FAA. This comprehensive repair process includes extensive inspections, lasting approximately 90 hours per aircraft, followed by the installation of Teflon sleeves and cap fasteners in specific areas of the fuel tanks.

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Crucially, the financial burden of these repairs would not fall on Boeing but on the operators and airlines that own the affected aircraft. The proposed timeline for completing the repairs extends up to 60 months.

Boeing, in response to the FAA’s proposed rulemaking, expressed its full support for making the guidance mandatory and emphasized that the issue does not present an immediate safety-of-flight concern. The company highlighted the multiple redundancies built into modern commercial airplanes to mitigate risks from electromagnetic effects.

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Airbus A340s Join SpiceJet Fleet for Delhi-Bangkok Flights, Replacing Boeing 737s

Airbus A340s Join SpiceJet Fleet for Delhi-Bangkok Flights, Replacing Boeing 737s

In a strategic move aimed at accommodating the surge in demand during the holiday season, SpiceJet has announced a significant upgrade to its Delhi-Bangkok route.

The airline revealed plans to swap out its narrow-body Boeing 737s with wide-body Airbus A340s, marking a substantial increase in seating capacity and comfort for passengers. Commencing on May 31 and extending until June 20, 2024, travelers on the Delhi-Bangkok route can expect a notable enhancement in their flying experience.

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The introduction of the Airbus A340s, with a seating capacity of 324 passengers per flight, promises to meet the escalating demand for travel between the two bustling destinations.

SpiceJet’s commitment to providing unparalleled service to its customers, particularly during peak travel periods. By leveraging the larger capacity of the A340s, the airline aims to ensure that passengers have greater flexibility and convenience in planning their journeys.

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The decision to upgrade to wide-body aircraft comes at a time when Bangkok continues to allure Indian travelers with its vibrant blend of work and leisure opportunities, further facilitated by visa-free entry for Indians. Recognizing the importance of catering to this growing demand, SpiceJet’s move is poised to strengthen its position in the market and solidify its reputation for customer-centric innovation.

It’s worth noting that SpiceJet’s utilization of the Airbus A340s extends beyond the Delhi-Bangkok route. The airline currently operates two A340s, sourced from Romanian operator Legend Airlines, primarily for Hajj pilgrimage flights.

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IndiGo to introduce business class Service on its busiest routes 

IndiGo to introduce business class Service on its busiest routes 

After nearly 18 years of dominating India’s aviation landscape with its single-class economy configuration, IndiGo, the country’s largest airline, is set to make a significant leap by introducing business class service on its busiest routes.

The decision comes as IndiGo aims to offer passengers more choices and enhanced comfort amid the backdrop of a burgeoning economy. Set to be unveiled around August, coinciding with the carrier’s 18th anniversary, IndiGo’s “tailor-made business product” promises to redefine the flying experience for its customers.

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This move follows closely on the heels of IndiGo’s recent announcement of acquiring 30 wide-body aircraft, indicating the airline’s strategic expansion and commitment to catering to diverse passenger preferences.

IndiGo’s foray into business class service represents a significant milestone, especially considering its longstanding reputation as a low-cost carrier focused primarily on economy class offerings. With a fleet exceeding 360 planes and operating approximately 2,000 daily flights, the airline’s entry into the business class segment is poised to reshape the Indian aviation industry.

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Currently, Air India and Vistara are the sole providers of business-class seats on domestic routes in India. However, by December 2024, IndiGo will join this exclusive league, introducing its bespoke business class experience tailored to meet the evolving needs of discerning travelers.

Initially, IndiGo’s business class operations will be rolled out on the busiest domestic routes, ensuring passengers enjoy added comfort and luxury during their journeys. Further details regarding the official launch date, specific routes, and promotional offers will be disclosed by August 2024, heightening anticipation among passengers eagerly awaiting this premium service.

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