Biden pushes airlines to go beyond refunds for delayed or canceled flights

The White House said the expanded website will show that only one airline guarantees frequent flyer miles and two airlines guarantee travel credits or vouchers as compensation if passengers experience significant delays or cancellations caused by something within the airline’s control, such as a mechanical problem. . Zero Airlines guarantees cash compensation for avoidable delays and cancellations.

Biden and Buttigieg will officially announce the new effort during an appearance at the White House on Monday. The White House noted that three airlines, Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines and American Airlines, announced commitments to provide free family seats after Biden included family seat fees as part of his attack on “junk fees.” in this year’s State of the Union.

“When an airline causes a flight cancellation or delay, passengers should not foot the bill,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “This rule would propose, for the first time in U.S. history, requiring airlines to compensate passengers and cover expenses such as meals, hotels and rebookings in cases where the airline airline has caused a cancellation or significant delay.”

Airlines for America, a trade association representing major U.S. airlines, said it “looks forward to working with the administration to ensure that U.S. airspace remains the safest airspace in the world while supporting strong competition in the marketplace that provides transparency and broad options to consumers”.

They also noted that the majority of canceled flights between August last year and February, around two-thirds, were attributable to weather and air traffic control problems for which the airlines are not responsible.

Background: The announcement is another push from the White House to move ahead of a summer travel season that is expected to surpass pre-pandemic travel levels in 2019.

Late last year, Southwest Airlines’ vacation collapse stranded tens of thousands of passengers and prompted Buttigieg and lawmakers to call travelers. Southwest responded by doling out rewards points and spending millions on hotels and other expenses for stranded passengers for days, though the Senate Commerce Chairman Maria Canwell (D-Wash.) is pushing the airline to publicize the number of customers who have requested reimbursement for ancillary charges but have been denied.

Federal law does not require airlines to compensate passengers for flight delays. If a flight is cancelled, a passenger can choose to receive a refund.

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