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Delta customers who couldn't get refunds after their flights were canceled at the start of the pandemic are getting a share of a $27 million settlement

Grace Dean   

Delta customers who couldn't get refunds after their flights were canceled at the start of the pandemic are getting a share of a $27 million settlement
  • Delta customers who weren't given refunds after their flights were canceled during the pandemic are getting a settlement payout.
  • The airline is making a $27 million settlement payout to customers who received credit instead of refunds.

Delta Air Lines customers who said the airline canceled their flights at the start of the pandemic and wouldn't refund them are getting a share of a $27 million settlement payout.

Under the settlement, the airline will make cash payments with 7% interest for the amount of unused credit customers have whose flights were canceled and who requested refunds but instead received credit.

Customers also have the option to keep the credit as it is, but also get the 7% interest payment in credit. The available refunds plus interest total $27.3 million.

The settlement covers US citizens who had purchased non-refundable tickets for Delta flights scheduled to depart between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021. CNN reported that 14,000 members of the class had submitted their claims by the September 15 deadline.

Delta breached its contractual obligation to issue refunds for the canceled flights, the lawsuit claimed. It also understaffed its call centers and made it "impossible" to request refunds online, the lawsuit alleged.

In a draft of the settlement agreement, Delta said that it denied "each and every allegation of liability, wrongdoing, and damage" but that it was settling the lawsuit "to avoid the substantial expense, inconvenience, burden, and disruption of continued litigation."

US District Judge Eleanor L. Ross approved the settlement on Thursday.

Delta will also pay attorneys' fees totalling $2.285 million for the class members, an estimated $246,465 for settlement administration costs, $51,300 for litigation costs, and a $3,000 service award to the person who filed the lawsuit.

According to Ross' judgment, any residual funds left over from the $27 million pot will be given to charity, and split between Public Justice, a legal advocacy non-profit, and United Way of Greater Atlanta, a children's charity in Atlanta, where Delta is headquartered.

Angela Dusko, the plaintiff, said in her lawsuit, originally filed in April 2020, that she had spent $2,783 on four roundtrip tickets for her family to travel from Helena, Montana, to Cancun, Mexico. She said that after Delta canceled their initial outbound flight, it rescheduled the family for another one but that she asked for a refund instead, which the airline refused to grant.

Only after filing her lawsuit did Delta finally grant her request for a refund, she wrote in an amended version of the lawsuit.

"Since the beginning of 2020, Delta refunded over 11 million tickets totaling $6 billion, of which 20% took place in 2022," a spokesperson for the airline told Insider.

"In the settlement agreement from May 2023, Delta does not admit or acknowledge it failed to follow its contract of carriage or that it failed to provide refunds in accordance with its contract of carriage."

Insider has approached the plaintiff's attorneys for comment.



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