U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. (Photo via Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a critic of the airlines’ handling of the mass chaos of spring and summer travel this year, has expressed optimism that U.S. carrier can turn around their problems in time for the next critical air travel season.
Speaking on the CBS late-night program ‘The Late Late Show with James Corden,’ Buttigieg said a combination of the airlines learning some valuable lessons from the mass chaos this year, and continued government pressure, will right the ship before Thanksgiving.
“I think it is going to get better by the holidays,” Buttigieg said. “We’re really pressing the airlines to deliver better service…they need to be ready to service the tickets that they’re selling.”
Buttigieg says he believes the airlines have taken the DOT’s initiatives – including the new online dashboard to track delayed and canceled flights as well as threats of more government oversight – to heart.
“We’re pushing them, they’re responding,” he said. “But when they actually fail to live up to the rules, there’s serious enforcement behind that and we want to know if that’s happened to you.”
Buttigieg himself was a victim of the travel nightmare earlier this year, having a flight canceled that forced him to drive from Washington to New York for a meeting.
“We’ve put off holidays, we put off trips for two years. We’re finally doing it again, which is great. But we need to make sure that the system is ready,” he said.