Report to the White House Competition Council: U.S. Department of Transportation's Investigatory, Enforcement and Other Activities Addressing Lack of Timely Airline Ticket Refunds Associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic [open pdf - 277KB]
From the Introduction: "The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT or Department) is committed to ensuring that airline passengers are treated fairly. Airlines and ticket agents have a legal obligation to refund consumers if the airline cancels or significantly changes a consumer's flight. This obligation to refund passengers for flights cancelled or significantly changed by airlines remained unchanged notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines had difficulty processing, in a timely manner, the significant volume of refund requests that they received. Many airlines were also initially reluctant to provide the required refunds. Further, even when flights were not cancelled or substantially changed, many passengers no longer wished to travel due to COVID-19. This resulted in the Department receiving a flood of complaints about carriers' failures to provide refunds, an increase of 4,552 % relative to the same period pre-pandemic. The Department has devoted considerable time, energy, and effort to securing relief for consumers and holding airlines accountable."
U.S. Department of Transportation: https://www.transportation.gov/