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Future airline consumer protections

The US Department of Transportation plans to offer new protections for airline consumers in the coming months to address travelers’ difficulties in obtaining refunds.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problems consumers face with airlines. A report released Thursday by the US Public Interest Research Group says reimbursement complaints have been higher this year than pre-pandemic levels.

Airlines often hand out vouchers in lieu of refunds when passengers with non-refundable fares cancel their travel plans.

The federal DOT said it plans to release a proposal for new rules for reimbursement of tickets before a meeting in late March.

At a DOT advisory committee meeting on Thursday, industry group Airlines for America said complaints about refunds have eased from the peak at the start of the pandemic and carriers are giving more refunds to passengers.

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

But when customers buy tickets and then later decide not to take the flights, airlines shouldn’t be required to reimburse non-refundable tickets, the airline industry group said. Instead, passengers who want flexibility should pay more to purchase 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 in motion.

The recall affects certain 2019 passports, 2016 thru 2019 drivers and 2017 thru 2020 Ridgeline pickup trucks.

Honda says in documents released Friday by U.S. safety regulators that the hood latch striker may be damaged and separate from the hood.

Dealers will repair the firing pin or replace the hood as necessary, at no cost to owners. Honda will notify owners by letter starting January 17.

The global total is 788,931, with just under 725,000 in the United States

Twitter changes leader after Dorsey resigns

Twitter’s new CEO Parag Agrawal said on Friday he would reorganize the company’s management and two key executives would leave.

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

Twitter has come under pressure from investors to launch new products faster and increase revenue. Agrawal said in an email to employees that the leadership changes were designed to speed up the pace of Twitter.

Twitter’s chief engineering officer, Michael Montano, and his head of design and research, Dantley Davis, will be leaving the company by the end of the year. Davis had championed a culture change on Twitter that pushed staff to perform better and which some employees criticized as bullying.

– Compiled by Dave Flessner

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