For Immediate Release:
Friday, October 2, 2020
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein urged Congress to enact new consumer protection measures for airline customers as it considers additional federal support for the airline industry.
“Air travel can be stressful and frustrating in the best of times, but even more so during this pandemic,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Airlines have a responsibility to do right by their customers in these uncertain times, especially when they have received so much in federal taxpayer relief. I urge Congress to ensure that consumers are protected in any further relief legislation for the airline industry.”
The United States passenger and cargo airline industry received nearly $60 billion in federal stimulus funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to prevent layoffs and furloughs. The funds were connected to several taxpayer protections, but consumers have still expressed concerns about not being promptly refunded when flights were cancelled or significantly delayed, not being able to promptly redeem vouchers or credits, and not having a reliable way to resolve problems with the airlines.
Congress is currently considering extending federal support by another six months and granting the industry an additional $28 billion in payroll support. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Attorney General Stein called on Congress to:
- Require carriers that receive federal financial relief to provide full refunds to customers who voluntarily cancel their flight reservations for reasons related to COVID-19.
- Strengthen existing laws related to full, prompt refunds for flight cancellations.
- Authorize state attorneys general to enforce federal airline consumer protection laws, or alternatively provide a more transparent and robust federal complaint process for consumers.
Attorney General Stein is joined in sending the letter by the Attorneys General of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
A copy of the letter is available here.