US airlines compensating inconvenience ahead of Labor Day

Northeast

Travellers at Heathrow airport, in London, Wednesday, July 13, 2022. Heathrow Airport has introduced a cap on passenger numbers this summer as the aviation sector struggles to cope with demand for travel. No more than 100,000 daily passengers will be able to depart from July 12 until Sept. 11, the west London airport announced. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

(NewsNation) — Passengers aboard U.S. commercial flights can now expect some type of compensation if faced with inconveniences under the airlines’ control according to new customer service protocol provided to the U.S. Transportation Department (USDOT) Wednesday. 

American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, and others told the DOT that services, such as meals for customers delayed by three hours and hotel rooms for stranded passengers, will be a part of their policy going forward. 

However, some indicated the move is only a clarification of already existing commitments. 

The news is to be expected, as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg promised an “interactive dashboard” for air travelers to shop the best offers major U.S. airlines would provide if a cancellation or delay under their control were to occur. 

“In the first six months of 2022, roughly 24% of the domestic flights of U.S. airlines have been delayed and 3.2% have been canceled,” Buttigieg wrote in the letter dated Aug. 18, 2022.

“When passengers do experience cancellations and delays, they deserve clear and transparent information on the services that your airline will provide, to address the expenses and inconveniences resulting from these disruptions,” he added. 

A few days after Buttigieg’s letter, the DOT expanded on his remarks, adding they will update the rules to make it easier to protect consumer rights, including for consumers seeking refunds for airline tickets.

It’s all a part of Buttigieg and the DOT’s commitment to putting more power into passengers’ hands.

“When Americans buy an airline ticket, they should get to their destination safely, reliably, and affordably,” Buttigieg said when announcing the proposal Aug 3. “This new proposed rule would protect the rights of travelers and help ensure they get the timely refunds they deserve from the airlines.”

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