The U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered Frontier Airlines (NASDAQ: ULCC) as well as five foreign carriers to reimburse approximately USD600 Million in refunds to travelers whose flights were canceled or greatly impacted by the airlines. Passenger complaints regarding refunds from airlines rose at the start of the pandemic when travel restrictions impacted travel demand the most.
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The airline carrier earned USD31 Million in profit last quarter on USD906 Million in revenue as travel demand continues to rebound.
“It shouldn’t take an enforcement action from the U.S. Department of Transportation to get airlines to pay refunds that they’re required to pay,” Buttigieg said on a call with reporters Monday.
The DOT fined Air India USD1.4 Million, TAP Portugal USD1.1 Million, Aeromexico and Israel’s El Al USD900,000 apiece, and Colombia-based Avianca USD750,000. Last year, the DOT fined Air Canada a record USD4.5 Million related to refund over the delays.
“Whenever that doesn’t happen, we will act to hold airlines accountable on behalf of American travelers and get passengers their money back,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “A flight cancellation is frustrating enough, and you shouldn’t also have to haggle or wait months to get your refund,” he said.