Biden Wants Airlines to Pay for Flight Cancellations and Delays. On Monday, the administration of Vice President Joe Biden revealed plans for new regulations that would require airlines to give compensation and cover expenses for delayed passengers, including the costs of meals and hotel rooms, where the airlines are responsible for disruptions in passenger travel.
According to a statement released by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, “When an airline causes a flight cancellation or delay, passengers should not be responsible for footing the bill.” “This rule would, for the first time in the history of the United States, propose to require airlines to compensate passengers and cover expenses such as meals, hotels, and rebooking if the airline has caused a significant delay or cancellation,”
According to the Department of Transportation, the proposals aim to mandate that airlines must compensate passengers if there is a “controllable airline cancellation or significant delay.” This compensation would cover expenses such as meals, transportation to and from the hotel, and fees incurred when rebooking on another flight.
Currently, airlines do not commit to providing passengers with monetary compensation if an airline-related issue results in a severe flight delay or cancellation. Passengers who endure delays or cancellations caused by a topic within the airline’s control, such as a mechanical fault, are frequently guaranteed frequent flyer miles, travel credits, or vouchers to compensate for their inconvenience. The Department of Transportation has stated that it intends to define “controllable cancellation and delay” as part of this rulemaking process to ensure that passengers are better safeguarded against financial losses due to the proposed rules.
The announcement was made as part of an effort by the administration of Vice President Joe Biden to enhance the quality of customer service provided to airline passengers. After numerous aircraft delays over the summer of 2017, the Department of Transportation introduced an online dashboard to enhance customer service quality. The dashboard allows travelers to research an airline’s refund and compensation policies if their flight is delayed or canceled. According to the dashboard, several top airlines in the United States provide passengers with free meals or hotel stays if the airline is responsible for a flight delay or cancellation.
Additionally, the government stated that it believes the proposed guidelines will assist in improving the punctuality performance of airlines.
After thousands of flights operated by Southwest Airlines were scrubbed in late December, the company investigated the airline. According to the department’s statement, a study was conducted to determine whether firm management had scheduled an unrealistic volume of flights, “which under federal law is considered an unfair and deceptive practice.” The transport company has assured investigators that they have their full cooperation.