May 12, 2020 / DAVID SCHAPER
Amid a huge increase in consumer complaints, the federal government is once again reminding airlines of their obligation to offer customers refunds for canceled flights. At the same time, regulators say they will provide airlines some relief from a requirement that carriers continue flying into cities where demand for air travel is close to nonexistent.
As a condition for accepting federal aid as part of the coronavirus relief package known as the CARES Act, the government had required airlines to continue flying to all destinations they served before March 1 “to the extent practicable.” The Department of Transportation can approve waivers of that requirement and has granted some, but has denied others, resulting in airlines often flying planes carrying just a handful of passengers on some routes, and sometimes none.
The number of people flying each day has fallen more than 90% in recent months because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the airlines continue to fly about 30% of their flights each day.