Record-breaking airline delays have government officials facing pressure for solutions

The Department of Transportation unveiled a new tool to help travelers ahead of Labor Day weekend. But state attorneys general say the department isn’t doing enough.
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 10:54 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - More than 4,000 flights were delayed last week as travelers returned from Labor Day weekend, continuing the trend of record-breaking airline issues in 2022. Now, the Department of Transportation is under pressure to get airlines back on track.

The Department of Transportation unveiled a new online tool ahead of the weekend, working with 10 airlines on a dashboard to let you know what your airline can do for you if you’re hit with a cancellation or delay.

The airline delays and hundreds of cancellations over Labor Day weekend put the new government tool for travelers to the test. Americans facing airline problems could check the DOT website for what benefits they’re entitled to: from hotels, to meals, to rescheduled flights. At least eight of the 10 major airlines now guarantee most or all of this compensation.

“These are wins for the American public,” said Carlos Monje, the Undersecretary for Transportation Policy at the Department of Transportation. Monje said the airline industry is still in recovery from the pandemic, among other issues like staff shortages.

“Airlines are operating with a certain degree of slack in their system.” He said.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R-Ariz.) said DOT isn’t doing enough to help travelers.

“I just think that there is a complete lack of not only respect, but there’s there’s a mistreatment of consumers,” Brnovich said.

Brnovich is leading a bipartisan group of 38 state attorneys general, asking Congress to give them the power to respond to consumer airline complaints instead of DOT.

“The state AGs should have the ability to do what they do with any other industry,” Brnovich said. “And that is hold them accountable to consumers.”

The Washington News Bureau asked the Department of Transportation about the letter—they said it’s up to Congress to decide.

To find the new dashboard, visit the website here.

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