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The U.S. Government has ordered six airlines to refund customers more than $600 million for flights that were canceled or significantly changed. They’ll also pay $8.1 million in penalties. If you’ve ever experienced this kind of cancellation or delay — and have had trouble getting your money back — a flight refund might be coming your way.

If you’ve been flying Frontier Airlines or five international airlines, you’re going to want to pay attention. This government-ordered payout means you can expect a refund in the near future.

Officials say that these airlines had delayed issuing refunds for so long that they were in violation of regulations that protect consumers.

This new crackdown by the Department of Transportation hopefully means that your next call to customer service won’t be as annoying and that you’ll come away with money instead of a credit (or worse, nothing). Here’s what you need to know:

(Psst … we have a giant collection of travel tips that’ll help you save money on your next flight.)

 

Frontier Airlines will give customers $222 million and pay a $2.2 million fine.

A Frontier plane parked on the tarmac.

Frontier Airlines — the only U.S.-based airline in the group called out by regulators — has to pay about 11% of their 2021 revenue (which was $2.06 billion). They have to pay $224.2 million — $222 million in flight refund plus $2.2 million in fines.

Although plenty of other U.S.-based airlines were named in travelers’ flood of complaints to the Department of Transportation, the government says the six they identified have the most egregious policies to avoid giving refunds. And they said that lots of U.S. carriers made quick fixes to their policies when they were confronted with complaints.

 

Five international airlines have also been ordered to pay up.

Aeromexico planes on the tarmac

The following international airlines were also part of the Department of Transportation’s enforcement action to ensure proper refunds for canceled or delayed flights:

  • Air India will pay $121.5 million in refunds and $1.4 million in penalties.
  • TAP Air Portugal will pay $126.5 million in refunds and $1.1 million in penalties.
  • Aeromexico will pay $13.6 million in refunds and $900,000 in penalties.
  • El Al will pay $61.9 million in refunds and $900,000 in penalties.
  • Avianca will pay $76.8 million in refunds and $750,000 in penalties.

 

You have to request your refund from the airlines, though.

Unfortunately, these refunds aren’t going to magically appear on your next credit card statement. You’ll have to contact these airlines in order to request your refund. In our experience, try the online customer support options (especially online chat or WhatsApp) before wasting your day away on the phone. Here’s the contact information for each of the six airlines:

Frontier Airlines

Air India

TAP Air Portugal

Aeromexico

El Al

Avianca

 

Flight Canceled? Changed? Airlines May Be Paying You Soon