Guam Attorney General Leevin Taitano Camacho, as part of a bipartisan coalition of 40 attorneys general, urged Congress to adopt measures aimed at protecting air travelers.
The protections being sought include requiring airline carriers who receive additional federal financial pandemic funding relief to provide full refunds to customers who voluntarily cancel their flight reservations for reasons related to COVID-19. The attorneys general also called on Congress to strengthen existing laws requiring that refunds for flight cancellations be timely and usable.
Earlier this year, Congress gave the United States passenger and cargo airline industry nearly $60 billion in federal stimulus funding through the CARES Act in order to avoid layoffs and furloughs, Camacho stated in a press release.
Congress is currently considering extending federal support by another six months and granting the industry an additional $28 billion in payroll support.
The measure has passed the House and awaits Senate action.
“COVID-19 has disrupted the airline industry and had significant impacts on airline employees and travelers,” stated Camacho. “If Congress bails out airlines a second time because of the impact of COVID-19, it is only fair to provide clear relief to travelers who cancel their reservations because of the pandemic.”
The Guam AG's Consumer Protection Division has received at least two consumer complaints relating to the cancellation of flights and refund requests.
“Although some airlines have adopted cancellation policies that take into consideration the uncertainty that surrounds travel during the public health emergency, over a hundred consumer complaints from across 29 states have reportedly been filed against a single airline,” stated Camacho.
Other attorneys general participating in the effort are from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.