US fines Latam Airlines $1: M for delaying payment of refunds


The US Department of Transportation (Usdot) has fined Latam Airlines one million dollars (about 930,000 euros) for routinely delaying the payment of refunds to customers who were affected by the cancellation of one of its flights.

Specifically, the US agency estimates that from March 2020 to at least November 2021 it received more than 750 complaints alleging that Latam Airlines failed to provide refunds in a timely manner after cancelling flights to and from the US. It is estimated that thousands of these requests took more than 100 days to complete.

As justification for these cancellations, Latam Airlines has claimed that at the beginning of the pandemic, due to government restrictions on travel and entry requirements, it was forced to cancel more than 1,100 flights per day.

However, according to US transportation regulations, the practice of cancelling or changing a flight to or from the US without providing a refund is "unfair", regardless of the reason for the cancellation.

The airline has defended that it has always acted "in good faith" and considers this fine to be "high", taking into account, among other things, the "terrible" economic circumstances it has had to face since the pandemic. On the other hand, the Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP) considers the fine to be "justified".

In order to avoid further litigation, the Transport Department has explained that Latam Airlines is committed to avoiding future regulatory violations and has consented to the issuance of this penalty.

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