May 16, 2024

Gallego Backs Legislation to Promote Airline Transparency, Put Money Back in Arizonans’ Pockets

Legislation builds on Rep. Gallego’s work to protect Arizonans from hidden junk fees

PHOENIXRep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-03) signed on as an original backer of the Enhancing Transparency from Airlines (ETA) Act to promote airline transparency and protect passengers.

“Arizonans shouldn’t have to jump through hoops just to get the money an airline owes them,” said Rep. Gallego. “Travel delays and cancellations are enough of a headache without having to fight for compensation or decipher confusing refund rules. Arizonans deserve to get their money back in their pockets, not a voucher.”

This year, 126,000 flights in the U.S. — nearly a quarter of America’s flights — have been delayed, and another 20,000 have been canceled. Rather than deliver full refunds, U.S. airlines have tended to give vouchers, which are rarely used.

The ETA Act ensures that when a long delay or cancellation strikes, families get their hard-earned money back. It does this by requiring airlines to provide direct refunds rather than vouchers following a significant diversion in flight plans, including a major delay (three hours for a domestic flight and six hours for an international flight) or cancellation. The bill also requires refunds for baggage, Wi-Fi, and seat selection fees when airlines do not follow through with these services.

By codifying important recent rule changes from the Department of Transportation (DOT), the ETA Act ensures these rules can’t be changed on a whim by a future Administration.  

The ETA Act builds on Rep. Gallego's Junk Fee Prevention Act to eliminate burdensome and oftentimes hidden fees imposed on consumers when purchasing tickets, hotel rooms, and other forms of entertainment. The bill would require the full price of services to be provided upfront and would prohibit airlines from charging passengers for seating assignments when an adult needs to sit next to an accompanying child.