U.S. air passengers would be offered refunds for delayed flights and transportation on rival carriers under sweeping consumer protections proposed on Tuesday after a series of disruptions including a holiday meltdown at Southwest Airlines. U.S. lawmakers said the wide-ranging measures would require airlines to pay at least $1,350 to passengers denied boarding as a result of an oversold flight, prohibit airlines from further shrinking plane seat sizes pending regulatory changes, and give consumers new rights to sue airlines for unfair practices. Passengers would receive refunds for any flights that arrived more than an hour late.
The pure-play airlines ETF U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS) has gained about 23% past month despite mixed earnings.
More than 1,000 Monday flights into or out of the United States have been canceled due to a severe winter storm, with about half of those coming from Southwest Airlines Co. The company has scrapped about 12% of its Monday schedule, while American Airlines Group Inc has canceled 6%, or 200 flights. The fresh cancellations come as the U.S. aviation sector recovers from a nationwide ground stop imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over a computer issue.