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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.

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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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases