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As flight woes mount, Buttigieg urges airlines to be sure they can deliver the schedules they promise

June 17, 2022
3 min read
Pete Buttigieg
As flight woes mount, Buttigieg urges airlines to be sure they can deliver the schedules they promise
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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg wants airlines to do better.

After multiple high-profile operational meltdowns in recent months, particularly over Memorial Day weekend, Buttigieg called a meeting of airline CEOs on Thursday. The goal of the meeting was to avoid a repeat over the Fourth of July and throughout the summer. All mainline and regional airlines were represented at the virtual meeting.

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During the meeting, Buttigieg focused on whether airlines were capable of operating their planned schedules, a source familiar with the gathering, which was described as “productive and collaborative,” told TPG. That's been an issue at a number of airlines — including Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue, which have proactively cut schedules due to staffing issues. Just this week, Southwest Airlines' pilot union took to Twitter to publicly accuse the airline of "selling more than 4,000 flights a day in June when you were only staffed for 3,800."

Attendees also discussed customer service issues, the source said. For months, passengers on U.S. carriers have faced significant issues during irregular operations, including long waits for in-person or phone-based help and few available flight options for rebooking.

A key complaint of the airline industry has been staffing issues at Federal Aviation Administration-run air traffic control facilities; this issue was highlighted in a letter Airlines for America — the industry's lobbying group — sent last week to two Democratic senators. At the meeting, Buttigieg "recommitted" the FAA to partner with airlines, the source said. Airlines and the FAA held a meeting last month to discuss issues surrounding an air traffic control facility in Florida.

Related: Buttigieg calls meeting of airline CEOs as operational issues persist

Airlines for America CEO Nicholas Calio thanked Buttigieg for the meeting and emphasized how the industry prioritizes safety.

"We appreciated the opportunity to meet with Department of Transportation Secretary Buttigieg to discuss our shared commitment to prioritizing the safety and security of all travelers as they reunite with friends, family and colleagues this summer," Calio said in a statement. "U.S. airlines always strive to provide a safe and seamless journey, and recognize the importance of continued partnership between our industry and the federal government to ensure aviation remains the safest mode of transportation in the world."

Featured image by Bloomberg via 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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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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  • $95 annual fee
  • 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