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There are new rules about what airlines must do if your flight is canceled, significantly delayed

ATLANTA — The federal government is taking action to protect the flyers and their money. New rules say airlines must give refunds if passengers’ flights are canceled or significantly delayed.

Airlines arbitrarily choose to give your money back and how long a delay needs to be to qualify.

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But the new rules finalized Wednesday means they must issue an automatic cash refund within seven days if your flight is canceled or delayed more than three hours for domestic flights and six hours for international flights.

“We hear again and again from passengers who describe how hard they have to push just to get the refunds that are owed to them. And often our consumer protection team has had to impose multi-million dollar penalties on airlines just to get them to do what should already be required,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigeg said.

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As part of the new rules, passengers can also get money back if airlines make big changes to your plans like switching airports, adding connections or downgrading your seat. You can also get bag fees back if your luggage doesn’t arrive within 12 hours for domestic flights.

Channel 2 Action News spoke with passengers at the Atlanta airport who welcome the changes.

“I have to get back on time and if they have to cancel my flight, it would my affect my agenda my schedule and my family’s schedule.”

Another rule also rolled out by the U.S. Department of Transportation will force airlines to be more transparent by disclosing and explaining all the fees upfront before purchasing a ticket.

Airlines are allowed to offer another flight or travel credit, but the new rules give passengers the option to reject those offers and get their cash refunds.

The announcement comes just before the busy summer travel season ramps up. However, the rules will go into effect over the next year.

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