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Delta will pay almost $30M in settlement over faulty refunds during COVID pandemic

Delta Airlines to pay $27M to settle lawsuit

NEW YORK (CNN) — Delta Air Lines will pay tens of millions of dollars to settle a class-action lawsuit from customers who said the airline wouldn’t refund their canceled flights at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The total sum of claims is $27 million, and Delta will also pay 7% interest in cash or credits on top of the refund. The airline will also have to pay attorney fees, which will cost about $2.3 million, according to the settlement.

In a statement Friday, Delta said it does not admit to wrongdoing or breach of contract in the settlement.

“Since the beginning of 2020, Delta refunded over 11 million tickets totaling $6 billion, of which 20% took place in 2022,” a company spokesperson said.

More than 14,000 customers submitted their claims, which only made up approximately 19% of customers who were eligible, the settlement said. The deadline to submit a claim was September 15.

US citizen customers who received a credit for a nonrefundable ticket they bought with dollars were eligible for the class action. These customers would have requested a refund for the ticket and instead received a credit that wasn’t used up, as of January 13, 2023.

The ticket had to have been for a departing flight between March 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, that Delta canceled.

“Delta has engaged in unfair and deceptive conduct through its policy to refuse refunds, limiting and forcing customers into a rebooked flight or travel voucher instead of returning their money,” the 2020 lawsuit said.

The plaintiffs included a teacher who paid $2,400 for nine student flights that were canceled, and another who spent more than $3,000 on flights to Egypt and didn’t know when they could use all the credit.

Airlines in 2020 descended into near chaos when the pandemic first began.

As of April 2022, airlines have paid more than $600 million in refunds to hundreds of thousands of passengers for canceled or changed flights since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Department of Transportation.

The Department of Transportation said in 2022 that of the 7,243 consumer complaints received about the airlines in August of that year, almost one in every five concerned refunds.