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Traumatized by the Scanners? Delta Offers Refunds

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The Associated Press (AP) reports Delta is considering refunds for passengers who cancel their flights because of the new TSA screening policy. The AP writes, “Delta Air Lines says it will consider refunds in rare case-by-case scenarios for passengers who cancel travel plans because of new airport security measures.”

I spoke to someone at Delta who confirmed that the airline is offering refunds, but only in extreme, extenuating circumstances. Which is to say, you can’t wake up on the day of your flight, decide the new TSA screening process is annoying, and call Delta to ask for a refund. Delta wouldn’t get specific about what constitutes an “extenuating circumstance”—though, clearly, we’re talking significant physical or psychological trauma—offering only that customer service representatives are “empowered to be sensitive.” The case-by-case policy does apply to travelers with nonrefundable tickets.

There are no plans to make any sort of permanent policy change, and so far, no other airline has said it will follow Delta’s lead.

Nevertheless, it’s an interesting move for Delta to make. The airline has zero responsibility for anything the TSA does, meaning there’s no contractual or even moral obligation to refund anyone who cancels because of the screening policy. But in offering refunds, Delta is illustrating the extent to which the TSA’s new policies have affected travelers and the travel industry—who would have guessed, a month ago, that a major carrier would be refunding passengers for something completely out of its control?

Readers, what do you think about Delta’s move?

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