Delta didn’t admit wrongdoing in the settlement.
The airline said in a written statement that since the beginning of 2020, “Delta refunded over 11 million tickets totaling $6 billion, of which 20% took place in 2022.”
Those who were eligible to file claims were Delta customers whose flights were canceled by the airline from March 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, who requested refunds according to Delta’s Customer Care database or refund database, but got flight credits instead and still had unused credits as of Jan. 13 of this year.
According to the settlement administrator, claims will now be processed and current plans are to start issuing payments in the coming months.
The settlement also says Delta will pay about $2.3 million in attorneys fees. Attorneys for the plaintiffs include former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes.
The dispute dates back to mass flight cancellations and traveler frustrations early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Some customers complained that Delta canceled their flights but would not give them refunds. Frustrations with many airlines over refunds prompted thousands of customer complaints nationwide.
In the case against Delta, plaintiff Angela Dusko said she bought four roundtrip tickets for $2,783.24 to travel from Helena, Montana, to Cancun, Mexico, from March 27 to April 3, 2020. She was notified the flight was canceled and was rebooked, but called Delta to say she instead wanted a refund.
Dusko claimed in the lawsuit that a Delta customer service representative denied her request for a full refund, and instead said she was only entitled to flight vouchers.
Multiple Delta customers filed lawsuits, which were consolidated into a single class action case in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.
Airlines are obligated to issue refunds to passengers who request them when the flights are canceled by the airline.
But some carriers trying to preserve their cash as air travel declined sharply during the pandemic were reluctant to give refunds — while consumers faced their own financial struggles with job losses, health concerns and upended lives.