Since the COVID-19 pandemic, air travel has been complicated. Initially, a significant decrease in travel demand meant cheaper flight prices and more available space on airplanes. However, airlines experienced a surge in demand recently now that many people are more comfortable with travel. As a result, we’ve seen flight ticket prices increase significantly. And that’s not the only problem that’s developed.
Airlines are struggling to meet customer demand, in part due to staffing shortages (a result of pandemic-era layoffs). Even the price increases haven’t slowed demand, and having fewer available workers has meant more flight cancelations and delays. Now, the US Transportation Department is working on a plan to address complaints from customers who were affected by canceled and delayed flights.
Pete Buttigieg (the US Transportation Secretary) has recently reprimanded airlines due to the increase in flight cancelations and delays. The airlines, in turn, have blamed a variety of factors, including increased fuel costs, staffing shortages, overwhelming demand, etc.
Now, the US Department of Transportation (TOD) is proposing “stricter rules on when airlines would have to compensate passengers for canceled or delayed flights” (CNBC). Currently, airlines are required to refund customers if flights are canceled, “significantly” changed, or “significantly” delayed. However, there has not been a set definition for what constitutes a “significant” delay or change — that is what the TOD is hoping to fix.
The proposed rule states that a flight’s delay is “significant” if the time is off by at least 3 hours for domestic flights or at least 6 hours for international flights. A change is considered “significant” if the route changes, a connection is added, or if a change in aircraft causes a downgrade in amenities or other features.
In addition, the DOT has proposed that airlines must give “flight credits or vouchers without expiration dates if passengers can’t fly because of Covid-19, including lockdowns, travel restrictions, or personal health reasons” (CNBC).
We have seen some airlines make adjustments to compensate for the increased cancelations and delays. For example, Southwest Airlines recently changed its policy on flight credits — now, these credits do not have an expiration date.
Many airlines are in the process of adjusting schedules either to limit flights or add new routes. We’ve seen several airlines add new flights to Orlando, while others are cutting back their trips to this airport. Some of the airlines adding routes may be looking forward to the new terminal, which is coming soon to the Orlando International Airport (and bringing a lot of new restaurants with it!).
We’ll continue to watch for more information that could impact your travel to Disney World, so stay tuned with DFB for all the latest updates.
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The post You Could Be More Likely to Get a Refund on Your Flight SOON first appeared on the disney food blog.