Travelers to receive quicker cash refunds for airline troubles

A big change is coming to the airline industry that impacts how travelers are reimbursed for canceled or delayed flights. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced a new rule requiring airlines to be more transparent and make refunds easier. 

One of the biggest changes is the requirement for straightforward, automatic refunds for delayed or canceled flights. The new rule will require fliers to receive automatic cash refunds for delayed or canceled flights if the customer wants their money back instead of receiving vouchers or travel credits. 

Also, refunds must be within seven business days. The DOT defines delayed flights as those delayed by three hours for domestic and by six hours for international. 

"It’s well-needed. I’m not going to call anybody out in this airport, but there have been a few times where flights have been canceled. I’ve lost a lot of money traveling," said Traveler Lacy McDonald. 

Some travelers say this will really help those families who do not have the funds to buy another flight after only receiving airline credit. 

"If they get a credit, it’s like, 'OK, great,' but what about my $700 or $800 bucks?" said traveler Brendan Buffa. 

Airlines must also disclose fees for baggage, and fees for flight changes or cancelations upfront. If services like in-air Wi-Fi do not work, then airlines must also refund the customer. 

"It’s great, pretty much every other business does that," said Stephen McBride. "The business I’m in has to do that. We don’t make our customers jump through hoops if we mess something up,v so I don’t think their customers should jump through any hoops." 

Refunds for baggage fees must be issued if the bag is not delivered within 12 hours for domestic flights or 15 to 30 hours for international flights. All changes go into effect for all airlines in six months.