Biden administration proposes new rules for airline cancellations, delays

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola WPVI logo
Monday, May 8, 2023
US to propose new rules for airline cancellations, delays
President Joe Biden said Monday his administration will write new regulations that will require airlines to compensate air travelers and cover their meals and hotel rooms if they a

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A lot of consumers don't know this, but if a flight is canceled or if there's a significant schedule change or delay, you are legally entitled to a refund for your ticket as well as baggage and seat fees.

And on Monday, President Biden announced he is proposing rules to require airlines to go beyond that. He also announced an expansion of an online tool that appears to already be having an effect on customer service.

"I know how frustrated many of you are in the service you get from your U.S. airlines," he said.

Federal law requires airlines to refund customers for the price of their ticket for cancellations or delays.

"If your flight is canceled for any reason, whether it's the airline's fault or not, you're entitled to cash. But the fact is, every single day of the week, US airlines send messages to consumers saying your flight is canceled. Would you like a voucher? Would you like credit," said Bill McGee an aviation expert with the American Economic Liberties Project.

The White House is pushing for change proposing a new rule making it mandatory for all U.S. airlines to compensate consumers for other items, including meals, hotels, taxis, rideshares, and rebooking fees if the airline is to blame for a cancellation or significant delay.

There is also an expanded dashboard on

"If it's the airline's fault that your flight was canceled or delayed, you can check the dashboard to see how the airline should be compensated you," said McGee.

The dashboard includes whether airlines guarantee additional compensation like cash, miles, or travel vouchers.

"There's been evidence that this has shamed some US airlines into improving their policies," said McGee.

"Now, nine major airlines cover hotels, ten cover meals, ten rebook for free," said Biden.

These changes will be significant for consumers, as a rebooking fee can cost as much as $200 per ticket.

For now, airline consumers can also file complaints with the Department of Transportation.

"We've helped get a billion dollars in refunds and counting back to passengers," said Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation.

Aviation experts tell us if these rules are adopted, it will bring U.S. airlines in line with requirements already in place overseas.