Hill: Travelers Should Know Their Rights Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Attorney General Curtis Hill said if you are unsure about following through with your travel plans or are wondering what to do if your flight is impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is important to know your rights.

Airlines have slashed hundreds of flights since this public health crisis emerged, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says crowded travel settings such as airports may increase chances of getting the coronavirus.

Attorney General Curtis Hill

“The coronavirus outbreak has upended every aspect of our lives and has understandably caused consumers to hesitate before continuing with their air travel plans,” Attorney General Hill said.

Attorney General Hill said travelers should be aware of the following before making any changes to their plans:  

  • If an airline has canceled a flight, a passenger is entitled to a refund from the airline regardless of whether they will be booking a new flight.
  • A passenger is entitled to a refund if an airline makes a significant schedule change and/or significantly delays a flight and the passenger chooses not to travel.
  • A passenger is entitled to a refund if they paid a fee for an optional service but were unable to use the service due to a flight cancellation, delay, schedule change or situation where they were involuntarily denied boarding.
  • When a flight is not canceled but a passenger chooses not to board, a passenger who purchased a fully refundable ticket is generally entitled to a refund when they do not use the purchased ticket to complete their travel.
  • When a flight is not canceled but a passenger chooses not to board, a passenger who purchased a non-refundable ticket is generally not entitled to a refund unless the airline makes a promise to provide a refund.
  • When a flight is canceled, a passenger who incurs incidental expenses such as a rental car, hotel room or meal due to a significantly delayed or canceled flight is not entitled to a refund for the incidental expenses.
  • If a passenger purchased their ticket through an online travel agency or other agent, they should contact the travel agent directly to obtain a refund before contacting the airline.

If you do not receive a refund from an airline, travel agency or other entity to which you believe you are entitled, you may file a complaint with the Office’s Consumer Protection Division. To file a complaint, click here.

For up-to-date information about the coronavirus pandemic, please visit the Indiana State Department of Health website at https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/. You may also call the department 24/7 at 1-877-826-0011.