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Airline consumer protections coming

The U.S. Department of Transportation plans to propose new airline consumer protections in the coming months to address travelers' struggles to get refunds.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated problems consumers face with airlines. A report released Thursday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group says complaints related to refunds have run higher this year than pre-pandemic levels.

Airlines often give out vouchers instead of refunds when passengers with non-refundable fares cancel their travel plans.

The federal DOT said it expects to issue a proposal for new rules for ticket refunds before a meeting in late March.

During a DOT advisory committee meeting Thursday, industry group Airlines for America said complaints about refunds have eased from the peak early in the pandemic and that carriers are giving more refunds to passengers.

Major carriers, including Delta, also have discontinued change fees.

But when customers buy tickets then decide later not to take the flights, airlines shouldn't be required to issue refunds for non-refundable tickets, the airline industry group said. Instead, passengers who want flexibility should pay more to buy refundable fares, the group said.

 

Honda recalls SUVs over hood openings

Honda is recalling nearly 725,000 SUVs and pickup trucks because the hoods can open while the vehicles are moving.

The recall covers certain 2019 Passports, 2016 through 2019 Pilots and 2017 through 2020 Ridgeline pickups.

Honda says in documents posted Friday by U.S. safety regulators that the hood latch striker can become damaged and separate from the hood.

Dealers will either repair the striker or replace the hood if necessary at no cost to owners. Honda will notify owners by letter starting Jan. 17.

The worldwide total is 788,931, with just under 725,000 in the U.S.

 

Twitter changes leaders after Dorsey resignation

Twitter's new CEO, Parag Agrawal, said Friday that he would reorganize top leadership at the company and that two key executives would depart.

The shake-up was the first sign of change under Agrawal, who took the reins of the social media company Monday after its co-founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey, announced his resignation.

Twitter has been under pressure from investors to more quickly launch new products and add to its revenue. Agrawal said in an email to employees that the leadership changes were designed to accelerate Twitter's pace.

Twitter's head of engineering, Michael Montano, and its head of design and research, Dantley Davis, will leave the company by the end of the year. Davis had championed a culture change at Twitter that pushed staff for higher performance and that some employees criticized as bullying.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

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