US Imposes Over $2 Million Penalties Against Some Airlines, Securing $1 Billion in Refunds

By Giuliano De Leon

Jun 03, 2024 08:28 PM EDT

US Imposes Over $2 Million Penalties Against Some Airlines, Securing $1 Billion in Refunds
An Air France plane is pictured on the tarmac of the Schiphol airport on May 24, 2022 as Air France-KLM announced a bid to raise 2,26 billion euros ($2,4 bn) by issuing new shares, as the debt-laden company seeks to put the coronavirus crisis that has ravaged its finances behind it.
(Photo : RAMON VAN FLYMEN/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

The US Department of Transportation imposed more than $2 million in civil penalties against some airlines. USDOT officials penalized and then refunded delays for canceled flights during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

US Imposes Over $2 Million Penalties Against Some Airlines

According to Reuters' latest report, the USDOT penalized KLM Royal Dutch Airways (the Air France unit), South African Airways, and Lufthansa.

"Today, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) announced enforcement actions against Lufthansa, South African Airways, and KLM Royal Dutch Airways for extreme delays in providing more than $900 million in refunds," said the Department of Transportation on Monday, June 3.

Thanks to the latest USDOT enforcement action, nearly $1 billion in refunds have been secured. In the enforcement action, the mentioned airlines are required to provide timely refunds and settle the civil penalties with the US Treasury.

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About USDOT's Airline Enforcement Action

The USDOT's enforcement action is part of its ongoing effort to ensure that all passengers are treated fairly. US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg explained that passengers shouldn't have to fight for refunds if airlines cancel their flights or if they make changes.

He added that their actions demonstrate that the rights of passengers remain one of the top priorities of the Biden-Harris administration. Buttigieg further stated that they are using all their resources to improve people's flight experiences.

Here are the exact amount of refunds and penalties that the three airlines need to settle: 

  • KLM - $113.3 million in required refunds paid and a $1.1 million penalty 
  • Lufthansa - $775 million in refunds needed to be paid and a $1.1 million penalty 
  • South African Airways - $15.2 million in refunds needed to be paid and a $300,000 penalty

READ MORE: Biden Administration Announces New Federal Rules: Airlines Required to Automatically Give Refunds for Delayed, Canceled Flights

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