Airlines May Have to Issue Refunds for Delayed Bags

The Biden Administration is set to propose new rules that will require airlines to refund passengers for bags that are significantly delayed and also for other services like Wi-Fi that don’t work.

White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese stated that these new rules are “part of a broader effort that the president will release shortly around driving greater competition in the economy in service of lower prices.”

Currently, under US Transportation Department rules state you are only entitled to a fee refund if your bags are lost but not delayed.

But under the new proposed rules a “significant delay” will entitle you to a refund. A “significant delay” will be one where a passenger does not get their bags for 12 hours on a domestic flight or within 25 hours for an international flight.

The new proposal will also require airlines to act swiftly to issue refunds for other types of services that are not available to paying customers.

These include things like advanced seat selection, Wi-Fi, in-flight entertainment, etc.

A single baggage fee may run you around $35 these days so that’s a pretty nice refund.

The refund will be nice but I would make sure that you prioritize getting baggage delay protection so that you can get reimbursed for essentials you may have to purchase while waiting for your bags to arrive.

If you are utilizing a premium travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve you can get solid protection for delayed baggage.

For example, if your baggage is delayed by a common carrier for more than six hours, you can get covered for essential expenses for up to $100 for a maximum of five days. 

The changes are expected to go into affect in 2022 based on reports that I saw but there is always the chance that efforts like these could run into opposition that slows everything down or prevents the effort from going forward.

Back in 2018, Congress attempted to get involved with baggage fee regulation by mandating “reasonable and proportional” baggage and change fees but they eventually dropped the effort.

It’s not clear to me yet what kind of resistance this new effort may come up against.