Department for Transport to propose requirements for airlines to compensate stranded passengers

The Department for Transport on Monday announced its plans for a new rule-making process requiring airlines to compensate passengers whose flights have been delayed or cancelled.

The proposal would require airlines to provide compensation and cover expenses for amenities, including meals, hotels and booking flights, when airlines are found responsible for stranding passengers at an airport, the statement said. Press.

The DOT said it has worked to improve passenger travel experiences over the past two years, adding that the ten largest airlines now guarantee meals and free booking on the same airline, and nine guarantee hotel accommodation as part of the department’s airline customer service dashboard.

The department’s dashboard at FlightRights.Gov was expanded on Monday to show passengers which airlines are offering cash compensation, providing travel credits or vouchers, or awarding frequent flyer miles when flight delays or cancellations occur. are caused by the airline.


“When an airline causes a flight cancellation or delay, passengers should not foot the bill,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the 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.”

The proposed regulations would address passenger compensation in the event of a controllable airline cancellation or significant delay, such as a meal or meal voucher, overnight stay, ground transportation to and from a hotel and rebooking for controllable delays or cancellations. Prompt customer service during and after periods of widespread flight irregularities would also be considered.

The exact definition of a controllable cancellation or delay has yet to be provided by DOT.


Categories added to the Department’s commitments for controllable cancellations and controllable delays include cash compensation, travel credits or vouchers, or frequent flyer miles when a cancellation or delay causes a passenger to wait three hours or more from the scheduled departure time.

One airline currently guarantees frequent flyer miles and two airlines guarantee travel credits or vouchers as compensation if passengers experience significant delays or cancellations caused by mechanical problems or other matters under the control of the airline. airline company. No airline guarantees cash compensation when an airline issue causes passengers to be stranded.

The department’s regulatory attempts are intended to ensure that passengers experiencing controllable delays and cancellations are better protected against financial loss, according to the press release, adding that it believes the new guidelines could improve punctuality.

Similar policies requiring additional compensation for passengers already exist in Canada and the European Union, according to the DOT, which also cited a study that found inconvenience compensation led to fewer flight delays in the country. EU.

Last year, Buttigieg wrote a letter to airlines urging them to improve their customer service plans ahead of the release of the airline customer service dashboard.

Prior to his letter, none of the 10 largest US airlines guaranteed meals or hotels when the airline caused a delay or cancellation. Now, all 10 guarantee meals while nine guarantee hotel accommodation when an airline is at fault for stranded passengers.


Other actions taken over the past two years include imposing the largest fines in the history of the department’s Aviation Consumer Protection Office to help hundreds of thousands of passengers receive millions compensation dollars.

The DOT also proposed a rule to reimburse passengers when services they paid for are not actually provided, such as a broken Wi-Fi connection.

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