(NewsNation) — Six airlines have paid more than half a billion dollars to customers who had a flight delayed or canceled since 2020, the Transportation Department announced in a news release.
Only one of the airlines fined is based in the United States, though Frontier was assessed the largest fine and ordered to pay $222 million in refunds, the most of any of the six. The airline was ordered to pay a $2.2 million fine on top of the refunds.
“When a flight gets canceled, passengers seeking refunds should be paid back promptly. Whenever that doesn’t happen, we will act to hold airlines accountable on behalf of American travelers and get passengers their money back.” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “A flight cancellation is frustrating enough, and you shouldn’t also have to haggle or wait months to get your refund.”
Other airlines impacted include:
- Air India – $121.5 million in required refunds paid and a $1.4 million penalty
- TAP Portugal – $126.5 million in required refunds paid and a $1.1 million penalty
- Aeromexico – $13.6 million in required refunds paid and a $900,000 penalty
- El Al – $61.9 million in required refunds paid and a $900,000 penalty
- Avianca – $76.8 million in required refunds paid and a $750,000 penalty
The enforcement action is part of the department’s work to crack down on flight delays and cancellations, which plagued travelers this summer after air travel rebounded from pandemic lows. Airlines are required under U.S. law to refund customers if the flight is canceled or significantly changed and the passenger does not wish to accept an alternative, such as a voucher.
The penalties assessed to the airlines were for delays in issuing refunds. The payments will be made to the U.S. Treasury department, according to the news release.