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Buttigieg and USDOT urge US airlines to do better – Airways Magazine

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DALLAS – In letters to the CEOs of the 10 largest US airlines, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg today urged them to do more to help stranded and delayed passengers. He also warned that the government could step in and adopt new regulations to fix the problems.

The letters to major regional and low-cost carriers were made public today, and Buttigieg said the Department of Transportation (USDOT) is “considering options” to draft new rules “that would further expand airlines’ passenger rights.” aerial”.

According to a Reuters report, the secretary urged carriers to review customer service plans to “ensure they ensure adequate facilities and services to help passengers cope with the expense and inconvenience of delays and cancellations”. He also said airlines should “at a minimum provide meal vouchers for delays of 3 hours or more and accommodation for passengers who have to wait overnight at an airport due to disruptions under the carrier’s control.”

Although some US airlines provide meals or hotel accommodations if they cancel or delay flights due to circumstances within their control, they are not legally required to do so. The problem is that passengers are often unaware of airline policies.

Buttigieg wrote that he appreciates the steps taken by the airlines to improve service. But he also added that “the level of disruption Americans have experienced this summer is unacceptable.”

“About 24% of US airline domestic flights were delayed and 3.2% were canceled,” he said. The USDOT says the number of complaints received from passengers this year has skyrocketed.

Buttigieg told news organizations that US airline rules needed a “refresh”.

Pete Buttigieg, US Secretary of Transportation. Photo: USDOT

Interactive dashboard

To help passengers understand their rights, the USDOT plans to create an “interactive dashboard” allowing airline customers to compare “the services or amenities each of the major U.S. airlines provide when the cause of a cancellation or delay was due to circumstances within the control of the airline”. The website is expected to be live by September 2 at the start of the Labor Day travel period.

In some cases, airlines have intentionally reduced the number of flights to improve service and are increasing hiring while arguing that inadequate air traffic control staff have regularly impacted flights.

Reuters notes that on Monday hundreds of flights were delayed at three major New York area airports. The FAA had said personnel issues could cause delays of nearly two hours.

New rules on reimbursing airline customers for delayed baggage are also being drafted.

Featured image: Salt Lake City E-Jets tails | United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways

Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes