Transportation

Buttigieg announces DOT dashboard for delayed, canceled flights

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, center, speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington, May 16, 2022, as Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, left, and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan, right, listen. Buttigieg says he is pushing airlines to hire more customer-service people and take other steps to help travelers this summer. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a letter to CEOs in the airline industry on Thursday the Department of Transportation (DOT) will be launching a dashboard to help customers determine what they are owed if a flight is delayed or canceled. 

Buttigieg chastised the airlines for “unacceptable” delays and cancellations Americans have experienced this summer, saying customers “deserve clear and transparent information on the services that your airline will provide, to address the expenses and inconveniences resulting from these disruptions.”

To help with that process, Buttigieg said the DOT website will launch a dashboard before Labor Day weekend, on Sept. 2, where customers can find information about what each airline carrier offers in the event of a delay or cancellation. 

“The Department is creating an interactive dashboard that provides air travelers with a single venue where they can locate easy-to-read, comparative summary information on the services or amenities that each of the large U.S. airlines provide when the cause of a cancelation or delay was due to circumstances within the airline’s control,” Buttigieg told the CEOs. 

The information will be based off the airlines’ customer service plans. Buttigieg told the CEOs they should “take this opportunity to assess your Customer Service Plan to ensure that it guarantees adequate amenities and services to help passengers with expenses and inconveniences due to delays and cancelations.”

The DOT wants airlines to give meal vouchers for delays of more than three hours and lodging for delays that force a customer to remain at an airport overnight. 

Refunds are always required for cancellations, but accommodations for delays get tricky when the delay is outside an airline’s control with issues such as weather and crew illness. 

Buttigieg said that in the first six months of 2022, 24 percent of domestic flights were delayed and 3.2 percent were canceled. 

He also reiterated the department is getting public comment for a proposed rule to make refunds for cancellations or delays more clear and debating expanding airline passengers’ rights when they experience delays or cancellations.

Tags airline delays customer service plans Pete Buttigieg Pete Buttigieg U.S. Department of Transportation
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