A customer has filed a class action complaint against Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. regarding the airline’s “failure to provide full refunds to customers whose flights were cancelled as a result of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.”
The complaint claims that, given the coronavirus pandemic, Hawaiian Airlines has cancelled a vast percentage of its international and United States flights but, to date, has refused to issue refunds for flights it has cancelled.
It adds that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) “issued an Enforcement Notice clarifying, in the context of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency, that U.S. and foreign airlines remain obligated to provide a prompt refund to passengers for flights to, within, or from the United States when the carrier cancels the passenger’s scheduled flight or makes a significant schedule change and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier. The obligation of airlines to provide refunds, including the ticket price and any optional fee charged for services a passenger is unable to use, does not cease when the flight disruptions are outside of the carrier’s control (e.g., a result of government restrictions).” The notice further explains that vouchers or credits for future travel does not serve as an adequate substitute for airlines’ obligation to offer refunds for cancelled flights, if the passenger chooses this option.
According to Hawaii News Now, Hawaiian Airlines says it will be receiving over $650 million in federal aid to continue operating. CEO Peter Ingram, the report says, told a state legislative committee that federal authorities have approved $290 million in grants and loans to cover its payroll and a low interest loan of $364 million for operations.