Transportation Department Considering New Rules to Protect Airline Passengers

Transportation Department Considering New Rules to Protect Airline Passengers

Airport flight status board. (Photo via phive2015 / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg sent letters to the CEOs of several of the top airlines in the country urging them to do more to protect stranded and delayed passengers.

According to Reuters.com, Buttigieg sent the letter to executives from major, regional and low-cost airlines saying the government is considering new rules that would “expand the rights of airline passengers.”

The Department of Transportation is urging carriers to develop customer service plans to “ensure that (they) guarantee adequate amenities and services to help passengers with expenses and inconveniences due to delays and cancellations.”

Several airlines in the U.S. provide meals or hotel rooms to passengers impacted by delays or cancellations, but no law requires the courtesy. Buttigieg said that carriers should “at a minimum to provide meal vouchers for delays of three hours or more and lodging accommodations for passengers who must wait overnight at an airport because of disruptions within the carrier’s control.”

The letter revealed that the Department of Transportation has received an enormous number of complaints this year and the “level of disruption this summer is unacceptable.” Data showed that roughly 24 percent of the domestic flights operated by U.S. airlines have been delayed.

On September 2, the government will debut an “interactive dashboard” for air travelers to compare “services or amenities that each of the large U.S. airlines provide when the cause of a cancellation or delay was due to circumstances within the airline’s control.”

The Department of Transportation is also working on new rules requiring refunds for delayed baggage and prohibiting airlines from charging extra fees to sit families together. Buttigieg told airlines earlier this year to perform better and set more realistic schedules.

Earlier this week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) took the unusual step of reducing the number of flights in the area of New York City due to staff shortages.

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