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Airlines pushed again by DOT to be better on delays and cancellations

Aug. 19, 2022
3 min read
Airlines pushed again by DOT to be better on delays and cancellations
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Air travelers will soon have a new tool to help evaluate airline amenities when flights get delayed or canceled.

­­Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told airline CEOs on Thursday that his department will be launching a new website meant to outline what airlines say they’ll will provide during irregular options. The new site comes amid a broader push by the agency to pressure the industry to improve consumer protections. Earlier this month, the DOT proposed rules on refunds and pressed the carriers to make their own policies more consumer-friendly — or risk further regulation by the government.

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The new site, which is expected to launch Sept. 2, will feature information that’s already publicly available. It’s currently filed with the department in individual airlines' customer service plans, but this is the first time that the department will provide it in a consumer-friendly format.

In the letters, one of which was shared with TPG, Buttigieg also implored airlines to provide meal vouchers for delays of three hours or more and hotel accommodations for overnight disruptions. He also said that the department is exploring possible regulatory action "that would further expand the rights of airline passengers who experience disruptions."

Most airlines already provide these types of accommodations when the delay is within their control and not caused by weather or other external factors.

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The move comes toward the end of a summer of operational disruptions for U.S. air travelers — and multiple rounds of finger-pointing between airline leaders and federal officials.

"The level of disruption Americans have experienced this summer is unacceptable," Buttigieg wrote in the letter. "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. As you know, these aren’t just numbers, these are missed birthday parties, graduations, time with loved ones and important meetings."

Related: Pete Buttigieg thinks airlines are too stingy with refunds. He tells TPG how he wants to fix it

Airlines contend that many of the delays are due to air traffic control issues — particularly staffing, something under the purview of the Federal Aviation Administration. On Monday evening, the FAA warned travelers of staffing-related delays in and out of New York City's congested airspace.

In a statement to TPG, Airlines for America, the industry's lobbying group, noted the challenges are being faced by both the airlines and the federal government.

"As our nation emerges from the pandemic, industries across the economy, as well as the federal government, are facing a range of challenges – including a tight labor market," the group said in a statement. "We are all in this together, and U.S. airlines are committed to continuing to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to overcome these headwinds. Airlines want travelers to have a safe, seamless and positive travel experience and are working toward that goal every day."

Featured image by 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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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees