MadameNoire Featured Video

The Biden-Harris Administration announced new rules to protect airline passengers from surprise airline fees and corporate rip-offs. 

On April 24, the White House administration penned a fact sheet detailing two finalized rules that require airlines to be more vigilant and transparent. Airlines are now mandated to promptly release automatic cash refunds to passengers and protect consumers from hefty surprise “junk” fees. With this, the administration predicts consumers will be able to save over half a billion dollars every year in overpaying airline fees. 

Rule number one emphasizes “automatic cash airline refunds.”

According to the release, the first rule is encouraged to resolve flight cancellations and changes, delayed checked bags or unprovided services that were paid for. 

As the press briefing stated, “Without this rule, consumers have to navigate a patchwork of cumbersome processes to request and receive a refund.”

The madness of securing a refund included scouring airline websites to find a refund request, waiting on hold for hours or receiving a travel credit rather than a refund for rebooking purposes. As a result, the new set of rules requires full refunds in cash or whatever form of original payment method. Travel credits and vouchers are now optional for passengers. 

Rule number two incites transparency as it relates to any and all surprise airline fees and policies.

Furthermore, the second rule demands that all airlines be transparent about any fees related to checked bags, carry-on bags, changing a reservation or canceling a reservation.

According to the statement, “Extra fees, like checked baggage and change fees, have been a growing source of revenue for airlines while also becoming more complex and confusing for passengers over time.” 

From seat availability down to passenger-specific fee information, transparency is key in rule number two. Additionally, the statement demands the end of “discount bait-and-switch tactics,” which are often used by airlines to cover up the exact cost of flights.

 The release stated, “The rules are part of the work to lower costs for consumers and combat corporate rip-offs.” 

The move concurs with the Executive Order on Promoting Competition President Biden signed in 2021. In the order, Biden encouraged the Department of Transportation to remain proactive in amplifying fairness and transparency in competitive markets. 

Travelers are more concerned about the potential uptick in flying costs.

“Airlines have six months to raise the prices, just in time for the Holiday Season,” an Instagram user wrote in the comments section of an April 24 post about the announcement.

Another chimed in, saying, “Watch prices go up to compensate.”

“The airlines will double or triple their fare because most of the time, you can’t control the delay. Maintenance, weather, crew issues. It’s too many [variables.] Auto refund for a plane of people? Yeah, okay, lol. Just means More open seats for me and my friends to fly standby on,” a third user pointed out.

In 2023, Frontier Airlines faced a lawsuit for improperly charging bag fees.

Last year, the Denver-based airline faced backlash from several passengers and a class-action lawsuit. The embattled passengers accused the airline of misleading travelers about baggage fees and charging for bags sizes smaller than the advertised dimension of 14″ tall x 18″ wide x 8″ long,” ABC News 6 reported. For instance, attorney Mike Mann represented nearly a dozen plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

“They said that personal items were a certain size, and passengers were showing up with that bag size and then getting charged,” said Mann.

An Investigative team discovered that Frontier agents earn a $10 commission for every $100 fee.

What’s worse? “We’ve got people bragging about it,” said Mann. “You know, making a couple thousand bucks just off the commission.”

What do ya’ll think about the new rules set forth by the Biden-Harris Administration? Could these processes go smoothly?

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN