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U.S. Department of Transportation Releases Airline Customer Service Commitments Dashboard
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released a new dashboard to advise airline passengers of the policies airlines have in place as a result of flight disruptions from circumstances within the airline’s control. Two weeks ago, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg had written to the chief executives of U.S. airlines and advised of the impending release of the dashboard. Airlines were encouraged to make any amendments to policies prior to the release of the dashboard. Accessibility to the dashboard comes ahead of the U.S. Labor Day holiday that traditionally signals the end of summer.
The airlines featured on the dashboard are Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines.
Buttigieg stated, “Passengers deserve transparency and clarity on what to expect from an airline when there is a cancelation or disruption. This dashboard collects that information in one place so travelers can easily understand their rights, compare airline practices and make informed decisions. The department will continue to support passengers and to hold airlines responsible for adhering to their customer obligations.”
Aviation has seen widespread disruptions over the northern hemisphere summer period as the industry struggled to restart against pent-up passenger demand after the lifting of travel restrictions. CNN reported Thursdays that data from the flight tracking site FlightAware shows that an estimated 55,000 flights or 2.2 percent of flights will have been canceled in the U.S. this summer with an additional 23 percent delayed. By comparison in the summer of 2019, there were about 50,000 flight cancellations or 1.7 percent of flights and a further 18 percent of flights were delayed.
According to the Department for Transportation, the airlines featured on the dashboard account for ‘approximately 96 percent of the domestic scheduled passenger air traffic.’ Passengers can find out at-a-glance what ten domestic carriers and their regional operating partners will offer in the event of ‘controllable delays’ and ‘controllable cancellations.’
The DOT defines a controllable flight cancellation or delay as “essentially a delay or cancellation caused by the airline.” Examples include maintenance or crew problems, cabin cleaning, baggage loading and fueling.
In addition to providing passengers with the two dashboards, the DOT’s “Airline Customer Service Dashboard” site provides links to the customer service plans of all ten airlines.
Buttigieg said to CNN, “I understand that you’re never going to have zero cancellations. There is always going to be a storm somewhere, a surprise somewhere, an issue somewhere. But we need a stronger system. And we’re expecting airlines that collect revenue by selling tickets to be prepared to service the tickets they sell.”
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