The push comes just weeks before the peak summer tourist season.
WASHINGTON – The Biden administration is working on new rules that would require airlines to compensate passengers and cover meals and hotel rooms for them if they are stranded for reasons within reach. airline control.
The White House said President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will announce the start of the rule-making process on Monday.
The rule-making commitment continues to push the Democratic administration to require airlines to improve customer service, and it comes just weeks before the start of the peak summer travel season.
The purpose of the first-time rules was to require airlines to pay compensation in addition to fare refunds and cover costs incurred by consumers, including rebooking another flight, if the airline cancels the flight or delays it significantly.
“When an airline cancels or delays a flight, passengers should not pay the bill,” Buttigieg said in a statement.
Currently, when an airline cancels a flight for any reason, a consumer can request a refund of the unused portion of the ticket and some additional charges they may have paid to the airline, such as such as fees for checking baggage or getting a seat assignment. Airlines often try to convince consumers to accept travel coupons instead of refunds.
After widespread flight disruptions last summer, the Department for Transport posted an online dashboard designed to pressure airlines to improve customer service. The website allows consumers to check the refund and compensation policies of each airline when flights are canceled or delayed.
Each of America’s 10 biggest airlines quickly promised cash or meal vouchers when cancellations forced passengers to wait at least three hours for another flight. Nine out of 10 – all but Frontier Airlines – also promised to pay for accommodation for passengers stranded overnight.
Questions arose again around out-of-pocket reimbursements to consumers after Southwest Airlines canceled nearly 17,000 flights during the December service crisis. The Transportation and Justice Departments are investigating whether whether Southwest is scheduling more flights than it can actually handle.
The Department for Transport said it was working with airlines to reduce cancellations and delays this summer, when air travel could exceed records before the coronavirus pandemic.
A report last month from the congressional Government Accountability Office blamed airlines for many of the flight cancellations, but the Federal Aviation Administration also created disruption due to technology outages and not enough people. The FAA recently encouraged airlines to reduce flights to and from New York’s major airports this summer because the agency doesn’t have enough air traffic controllers at a key facility.