flight schedule is changed significantly or the airline makes major changes to their itinerary.The proposed rule announced Wednesday would require airlines to give refunds if their departure or arrival time changes by three hours or more for a domestic flight or at least six hours for an international one.Refunds would also be due if the airline changes the passenger’s departure or arrival airport, adds stops in their itinerary, or causes "a significant downgrade" in the travel experience by switching to a different type of plane.The rule would apply even for travelers who buy nonrefundable tickets, which usually cost less and are favored by many leisure travelers.The proposal comes after the department was flooded with complaints by passengers whose flights were canceled or changed — or who were afraid to fly during the early months of the pandemic — and who couldn't get refunds.RELATED: Delta passenger explains why he declined $10K offer to give up airplane seatAirlines prefer to hand out travel vouchers instead of refunds.The department proposes to require that airlines and ticket agents give vouchers that don't expire for passengers who are told not to travel during a pandemic for health reasons or because borders are closed.RELATED: Amid delays, American Airlines earns $476 million on record revenue in 2QThe proposal faces a public-comment period and likely opposition by airlines. Their trade group, Airlines for America, did not immediately comment.JetBlue Airways passengers in a crowded terminal April 7, 2022 in the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
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