美國交通部 (DOT) 重申航司航變退款規則:必須現金退款不能只退代金券

1. 概述

4月3日,美國交通部(DOT,Department of Transportation)公布了一個聲明,重申在COVID-19病毒疫情時期,航司仍然應該遵守航變情況下機票的退款規則。原文在這裡

這個聲明強調了下面幾條:

  • The Department is receiving an increasing number of complaints and inquiries from ticketed passengers, including many with non-refundable tickets, who describe having been denied refunds for flights that were canceled or significantly delayed. In many of these cases, the passengers stated that the carrier informed them that they would receive vouchers or credits for future travel.

    DOT 收到了更多的關於航變(航班取消或者較大晚點)之後航司拒絕退款的投訴。在這些情況下,航司都只願意退代金券(vouchers or credits)。

  • U.S. and foreign airlines remain obligated to provide a prompt refund to passengers for flights to, within, or from the United States when the carrier cancels the passenger』s scheduled flight or makes a significant schedule change and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier.  The obligation of airlines to provide refunds, including the ticket price and any optional fee charged for services a passenger is unable to use, does not cease when the flight disruptions are outside of the carrier』s control (e.g., a result of government restrictions).

    DOT 重申,美國和國外航司,有責任對於涉及美國的航班航變提供及時的現金退款。退款應該包括機票價格和涉及的所有稅費,而且這個退款責任不能因為政府限制飛行而不是航司本身原因就不退。

  • DOT』s Aviation Enforcement Office will exercise its enforcement discretion and provide carriers with an opportunity to become compliant before taking further action.

    DOT 會給航司機會自己做到正確退款,如果航司拒不執行,DOT 會採取強制措施。

2. 分析

DOT 的這個聲明主要是針對最近一些航司頻繁變動的拒絕在航變時候退款的條例。一個例子是美聯航(UA)。

UA 在3月初幾次修改自己的退改票政策(見此文),在有些這樣的政策里,因為航變的退票,也只能退1年有效代金券(voucher),不過有的政策說明,如果這個代金券在1年結束還沒有用掉,金額會退回訂票人信用卡。無論這個條款怎麼說,只要航變只給退代金券不能現在就退回信用卡,這些操作就是違反 DOT 規定的。

遇到任何航司涉及美國的航班在航變的情況下只給退代金券不把錢直接退回信用卡,無論是以後的航班還是之前的航班,都可以嘗試再次聯繫航空公司協商退款,如果航空公司拒不退,可以直接聯繫 DOT 強制航空公司退款。向 DOT 投訴可以在 DOT 網站填表格:這裡


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