The US Department of Transportation received more than 90,000 complaints from travelers about airlines withholding refunds in 2020–up from 1,600 the year before–as the airline industry suffered one of its most unsteady year due to the coronavirus pandemic, CBS News reports.
As a result of the numerous cancellations of flights, US airlines still owe their customers near $20 billion dollars in refunds for cancelled flights, refunded rebooking fees and incentives. The airlines may be holding on to cash because of the uncertainty being caused by the continuing circulation of the coronavirus.
“There has never been a year like last year for complaints about refunds,” Bill McGee, aviation adviser at Consumer Reports Advocacy, told CBS MoneyWatch. “The airlines obviously made some conscious decisions not to do the right thing and give refunds — even when they were required to by law.”