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Delta Air Lines is the latest carrier to be hit with a class-action lawsuit over refunds for canceled flights during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, joining United Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
According to the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division on Friday, Delta is accused of engaging in "unfair, deceptive and unjust conduct" by "refusing to issue refunds to passengers for coronavirus related flight cancellations."
The airline is alleged to be making it "difficult, if not impossible, for consumers to receive any refund on pandemic canceled flights."
The suit's named plaintiff is Maryland resident Elliot Daniels, who booked four roundtrip tickets for more than $3,000 for travel from Washington Dulles to Cairo, Egypt in April 2020. According to the lawsuit, Delta canceled Daniels' flights twice, once for the initial departure date and once after he rebooked the flights to an earlier date.
Delta allegedly rejected Daniels' requests for a refund and informed him he was limited to a voucher for travel to occur within one year of his original booking date. "At the time of his ticket purchase, Plaintiff understood that he would be entitled to a refund if his flight was canceled...Plaintiff seeks a refund because he does not know when or if he will be able to use a travel voucher."
The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) recently warned airlines of their obligation to provide prompt refunds. "If your flight is canceled and you choose to cancel your trip as a result, you are entitled to a refund for the unused transportation-even for non-refundable tickets," DOT states.
Delta, which recently announced it's extending flight credits for up to two years, has denied any wrongdoing, noting that it processed more than one million refunds totaling more than $500 million in March alone.
"Doing right by our customers through refunds and rebookings has been-and will continue to be-a key focus as we manage through this unprecedented global pandemic," Delta said in a written statement via the Atlanta Airport Blog.
Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and attorney for consumers in the class action called Delta's actions "utterly unacceptable." "That Delta is offering time-limited vouchers during an unprecedented time of chaos and uncertainty in our nation's history only underscores its primary focus of profits over people," he added in a statement.
The lawsuit is seeking refunds for class members in addition to punitive damages and an injunction directing United to issue refunds for canceled flights.
A Maryland native and wanderer who has lived across the U.S. from North Carolina to SoCal, Patrick Clarke graduated from Towson...
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