Apr 20, 2023; Washington, DC, USA; Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg testifies before the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on President Biden's fiscal year 2024 funding request for the Department of Transportation.. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY

Right wingnuts are furious at Pete Buttigieg again. This time they’re upset with him for, wait for it, making it easier for travelers to get refunds on canceled flights.

The 42-year-old Transportation Secretary just announced new federal rules that say airline customers are entitled to automatic cash refunds, not vouchers or travel credits, whenever an airline screws up.

“From now on, when your flight is canceled for any reason, you are entitled to an automatic cash refund and it has to be prompt,” he told CNN today.

“If you get delayed significantly, that means three hours domestically, six hours internationally, or if there’s another significant change to your itinerary–like maybe you were going to go into one airport, they actually changed the airport on you or something like that–you’re going to get your money back.”

Sounds fair to us!

The new rules also require airlines are more transparent about about fees for baggage, seating upgrades, or changing flights (a.k.a. “junk fees”), as well as issue refunds on fees for bags that arrive more than 12 hours late on domestic flights or 15 to 30 hours late on international flights. Refunds must also be issued for in-flight WiFi fees if the internet goes down mid-flight, and upgraded seat fees if the seats are no longer available at boarding time.

In other words, airlines will actually have to provide the goods and services they charge people for. Also, no more hidden fees!

This morning, Buttigieg posted a short video on social media detailing the new rules and explaining how they are expected to save travelers $500 million a year in junk fees alone.

But not everyone’s happy about the changes.

Trolls immediately flooded his Twitter X page, furious with him for working to protect consumers and ensure fair treatment when it comes to airline fees and refunds.

“You are the poster child for why DEI hires are a bad idea,” one person remarked.

“I bet you’ve got a bridge in Baltimore you’d also like to sell us,” another quipped.

“Can Americans get their refunds from the illegal immigrants being brought into America using OUR tax dollars? Those were surely some hidden, unwanted, expensive airline fees,” one particularly racist person commented.

“You are a complete failure,” someone else said.

The feigned outrage isn’t surprising, however. Right wingnuts have been going after Buttigieg since his very first day on the job, furious that an out and proud gay man is heading the Transportation Department. Even more egregious is the fact that he’s actually doing a pretty good job at it.

The new rules were created in direct response to the nearly 50,000 complaints the DOT received in 2022, more than double the amount it received in 2021, about flight disruptions and refunds.

One of the biggest complaints was about airlines giving noncash flight credits on canceled flights that expired before travelers could redeem them, or requiring people sit on customer service phone lines for ridiculous amounts of time to get their money back.

Thanks to Buttigieg, that won’t be happening anymore. You can read the complete list of new rules here. Happy flying! ✈️

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