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Feds want to know why airline passengers aren't getting refunds | FOX43 Finds Out

The Department of Transportation received more than 5 times the normal amount of airline refund complaints during the pandemic.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — More than a dozen airlines are now being investigated by the federal government for not giving refunds to passengers during the pandemic.

The Department of Transportation already wrapped up its investigations into United Airlines and Air Canada for the same thing.

Before the pandemic, the DOT would get about 17,000 complaints a year related to airlines.

Over the past 18 months, there have been more than 120,000 complaints. That's more than 5 times the usual amount. Most of the complaints had to do with refunds.

The department dropped its investigation into united back in January when the airline started refunding thousands of customers. However, that did not happen with Air Canada. 

FOX43 Finds Out has followed the story of Sonja Mauk.

She fought for a refund from Air Canada for more than a year to get almost $2,000 back from the airline after her flight to Ireland was canceled. 

She got nowhere until FOX43 Finds Out stepped in earlier this summer.

Thousands of other people were not as lucky.

The DOT wants to fine Air Canada for more than $25 million. The airline is fighting that penalty. 

Credit: Department of Transportation

Back in April, an Air Canada spokesperson sent us a statement about refunds that reads in part "With respect to the dot, we are aware of their position but have a different legal view."

The feds said in the past few months at least nine airlines changed their policies to clarify that passengers are entitled to refunds, not just travel vouchers when the airline cancels their flight or significantly changes the flight's schedule.

At this point, we don't know the other 18 airlines that are still under investigation although we do know most of them are not based in the US.

You can read to full Department of Transportation report here.

Here's how you can file a complaint if you're still waiting for a refund.

If you have a story you want Jackie to look into, FOX43 wants to find out. Send her a message on Facebook or send an email to FOX43FindsOut@FOX43.com.   

Download the FOX43 app here. 

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