Markey proposing bill to provide cash refunds for flight cancellations

Efforts are underway in Congress to guarantee cash refunds for flight cancellations.
Updated: Aug. 2, 2022 at 5:30 PM EDT
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NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Efforts are underway in Congress to guarantee cash refunds for flight cancellations.

“The traveling part was unpleasant and I travel a lot,” said Martha Borawski, a travel agent with Pioneer Valley Travel.

The rate of flight cancellations is reaching sky high levels. In an attempt to combat the recent havoc caused by understaffed airlines, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey has proposed an act aimed at protecting the rights of travelers by guaranteeing cash refunds for all flight cancellations, rather than airline credit, especially during a global pandemic.

Borawski booked a reunion trip to Italy for 15 family members in June. However, the first few days of the trip did not go as planned. She told us the airline canceled their flight and they weren’t able to get on another one until two days later.

“I lost three days in Rome hotels, transfers, meals, you name it. I lost all of that, which I’m trying to get back,” Borawski explained.

She told us the reason her flight was canceled was due to a lack of pilots to fly the plane.

“They kept saying the gate change, the gate change, and then we go to the gate, pilots are there, pilots cannot fly plane after 9:30 at night, so they didn’t have a new plane, you know. The pilots are restricted on how many hours they can fly, so they were restricted and they couldn’t fly after 9:30 and then they finally said all your flights canceled,” Borawski added.

Borawski and her family then had to stay two nights in an airport hotel, but first had to wait over an hour in line just to get their luggage back.

“Because there is no staff there to turn the button on for the conveyor belt,” Borawski noted.

Now, Barowski is still working to get compensated by the airline for not only her flight cancellations, but also for other expenses like tours they paid for and missed and the extra hotel stays. She believes Markey’s proposal will help travelers get reimbursed by airlines, but she still advises that everyone take precautions when booking a trip.

“I did take out travel insurance, so I will use that as my second tool if the airlines don’t come over the money, but I’m gonna make sure that I get money from the airlines first before I go into the travel insurance,” Borawski noted.

Although Borawski said Markey’s proposal is a step in the right directions, she fears airlines may raise their rates to compensate for the cash refunds.