Markey seeks refunds, credit extensions for air travelers

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Sen. Ed Markey and Connecticut Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal are calling for airlines to give cash refunds to travelers who have had to cancel flights because of the pandemic, or at least to make it so that the temporary flight credits they’ve already issued do not expire.

As vaccines roll out and gradual reopening efforts progress across the country, previously scheduled travel plans remain on hold or disrupted for many.

“We must first reiterate our belief that your airline should offer a cash refund for all tickets on flights canceled during the coronavirus pandemic, whether canceled by the airline or traveler,” Markey and Blumenthal wrote in letters to 10 airlines.

“Americans need cash in their pockets to pay for food, housing, and prescriptions during this emergency. It is unconscionable that airlines are largely refusing to return customers’ money even as the industry sits on more than $10 billion in unused travel credits. However, even as we continue to push for these cash refunds, it is imperative that, at a minimum, your company does not subject pandemic-related flight credits to an expiration date.”

The senators sent their letters to Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines, according to Markey’s office. 

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