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All the airlines' flight delay and compensation policies from DOT's customer service dashboard

September 2 2022
8 min read
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The U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday unveiled its airline customer service dashboard — a new tool that shows how the top 10 largest U.S. carriers will accommodate passengers in the event of a delay or cancellation that is within the airline's control.

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The dashboard shows the guidelines that airlines have formally committed to in their customer service plans. The DOT claims most airlines firmed up and clarified those commitments during the dashboard creation process.

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“To the credit of the airlines in this process, they have stepped up,” Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg told TPG in an interview.

For their part, airlines contend that they were already providing most of these accommodations for passengers. Some airlines even view the exercise as unfair. For example, a low-cost carrier that lacks an interline agreement with other airlines might still book passengers on other airlines by paying full price for tickets. In other words, just because something is not listed here doesn't mean an airline won't provide it.

Don't expect these types of accommodations for delays or cancellations that are outside an airline's control, like those due to weather or air traffic control. Passengers are generally given little to nothing in the event of one of those delays or cancellations.

More: Airline passenger rights get a big push as Department of Transportation dashboard debuts

Here's what each airline has committed to, according to the dashboard.

Alaska Airlines

Commitments for controllable cancellations

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for three hours or more for new flight.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.

Commitments for controllable delays

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting three hours or more.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.

Allegiant Air

Commitments for controllable cancellations

  • No commitments.

Commitments for controllable delays

  • No commitments.

American Airlines

Commitments for controllable cancellations

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost.
  • Rebook passenger on another airline at no additional cost.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for three hours or more for new flight.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.

Commitments for controllable delays

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays.
  • Rebook passenger on another airline at no additional cost for significant delays.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting three hours or more.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.

Delta Air Lines

Commitments for controllable cancellations

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost.
  • Rebook passenger on another airline at no additional cost.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for three hours or more for new flight.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.

Commitments for controllable delays

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays.
  • Rebook passenger on another airline at no additional cost for significant delays.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting three hours or more.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.

Frontier Airlines

Commitments for controllable cancellations

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for three hours or more for new flight.

Commitments for controllable delays

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting three hours or more.

Hawaiian Airlines

Commitments for controllable cancellations

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost.
  • Rebook passenger on another airline at no additional cost.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for three hours or more for new flight.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.

Commitments for controllable delays

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting three hours or more.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.

JetBlue

Commitments for controllable cancellations

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost.
  • Rebook passenger on another airline at no additional cost.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for three hours or more for new flight.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.

Commitments for controllable delays

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays.
  • Rebook passenger on another airline at no additional cost for significant delays.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting three hours or more.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.

Southwest Airlines

Commitments for controllable cancellations

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for three hours or more for new flight.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.

Commitments for controllable delays

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting three hours or more.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.

Spirit Airlines

Commitments for controllable cancellations

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for three hours or more for new flight.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.

Commitments for controllable delays

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting three hours or more.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.

United Airlines

Commitments for controllable cancellations

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost.
  • Rebook passenger on another airline at no additional cost.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for three hours or more for new flight.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation.

Commitments for controllable delays

  • Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays.
  • Rebook passenger on another airline at no additional cost for significant delays.
  • Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting three hours or more.
  • Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight delay.

Bottom line

The significance of the new dashboard from the DOT is less about the actual dashboard — though that can certainly be helpful for consumers when booking a flight.

The process of creating the dashboard required airlines to formally clarify some of their existing policies, which, in the department's view, makes them more enforceable. For example, say a flight is canceled due to a mechanical issue and a passenger files a formal complaint about how the airline did not provide a hotel voucher. If the airline has previously said it provides hotel vouchers, the DOT believes it has more power to take action against the airline.

During a summer of many flight disruptions, it will be interesting to see how something like this plays out in practice.

Featured photo by NATHAN HOWARD/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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