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Monday, June 24, 2024

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America's 'Radical Elders' continue their work for fairness, justice; SCOTUS upholds law disarming domestic abusers; Workplace adoption benefits help families, communities; Report examines barriers to successful post-prison re-entry in NC.

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A congresswoman celebrates Biden protections for mixed status families, Louisiana's Ten Commandments law faces an inevitable legal challenge, and a senator moves to repeal the strict 19th century anti-obscenity and anti-abortion Comstock Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Friendly skies get friendlier with cash refunds for flight cancellations

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Friday, April 26, 2024   

Just in time for the fall holidays, air travelers could face fewer obstacles in securing a refund if their flight is canceled or changed under new federal rules.

The Department of Transportation has announced that airlines must promptly provide passengers with automatic cash refunds when they're owed one.

Teresa Murray, consumer watchdog director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, said some carriers haven't adhered to these standards, leaving passengers in a bind.

"And they would drag their feet," she said, "and they would say, 'Well, you bought your ticket from a ticket agent, and, so we don't know where your money is.' Or, 'Here, have a voucher.'"

The new rules, set to take effect in six months, say instead of first offering a voucher or credit, airlines "must automatically issue refunds without passengers having to explicitly request them." Murray's watchdog group reported complaints about refunds for flight cancellations spiked at the start of the pandemic. They since have eased, but remain higher than pre-pandemic years.

Murray said most people aren't frequent fliers, and it's hard for them to keep up on airlines' latest practices and policies.

"The average person only flies once every 18 months," she said, "so this will just bring transparency to that process and it kind of evens the playing field."

The new rules, which are being phased in, provide clearer definitions for travel disruptions. For example, refunds are required for baggage fees when a piece of luggage is delayed by 12 hours or more for domestic flights.

The changes should ease concerns for New Mexico customers headed to one of the state's five major airports just as a winter storm prepares to wreak havoc on their travel plans.


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The 2024 Summer U.S. Conference of Mayors in Kansas City, Mo., will be under the leadership of its president, Mayor Hillary Schieve of Reno, Nev., and host Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.
(SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Stock)

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