WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWLP)– The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is looking to create new rules that would require airlines to provide compensation and cover expenses when airlines are at fault for stranding passengers.
FlightRights.Gov, the DOT dashboard, was first launched last summer to hold airlines accountable to passengers. The dashboard highlights which airlines currently offer cash compensation, provide travel credits or vouchers, or award frequent flyer miles when they cause flight delays or cancellations. DOT’s planned rulemaking would make passenger compensation and amenities mandatory so that travelers are taken care of when airlines cause flight disruptions.
DOT is reporting that few airlines currently provide any compensation for airline-caused delays or cancellations, and as a result, the agency wants to strengthen rules requiring airlines to compensate passengers and cover certain expenses for controllable delays and cancellations.
Two years ago DOT began an effort to improve passenger services. The ten largest airlines now guarantee meals and free rebooking on the same airline and nine guarantee hotel accommodations.
“When an airline causes a flight cancellation or delay, passengers should not foot the bill,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This rule would, for the first time in U.S. history, propose to require airlines to compensate passengers and cover expenses such as meals, hotels, and rebooking in cases where the airline has caused a cancellation or significant delay.”
The planned rulemaking is aimed at addressing:
- Compensation for passengers when there is a controllable airline cancellation or significant delay;
- A meal or meal voucher, overnight accommodations, ground transportation to and from the hotel, and rebooking for controllable delays or cancellations;
- Timely customer service during and after periods of widespread flight irregularities; and
- Definition of a controllable cancellation or delay.
The dashboard has been expanded to give airline customers more transparency about the types of compensation, if any, airlines currently guarantee when they are the cause of a cancelation or delay. The following categories were added to Commitments for Controllable Cancellations and Controllable Delays:
- Cash compensation when cancellation or delay results in passenger waiting 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time;
- Travel credit/voucher when cancellation or delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more for scheduled departure time; and
- Frequent flyer miles when cancellation or delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more for a flight from the scheduled departure time.
Get information about airline passenger rights, as well as DOT’s rules, guidance, and orders, at the Department’s aviation consumer website.