New rules for airlines would require greater compensation for cancellations, delays
The Associated Press has reported the Biden administration is working on new regulations that would require airlines to compensate passengers beyond a ticket refund to cover expenses that consumers incur, including rebooking on another flight, if they are stranded for reasons within the airline’s control.
Currently, when an airline cancels a flight for any reason, consumers can demand a refund of the unused part of their ticket and certain extras that they might have paid to the airline.
The White House said President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg would announce the start of the rulemaking process Monday.
After widespread flight disruptions last summer, the Transportation Department posted an online dashboard that was designed to pressure the airlines to improve customer service.
Each of the 10 largest U.S. airlines quickly promised to provide cash or vouchers for meals when a cancellation forces passengers to wait at least three hours for another flight. Nine of the 10 — all but Frontier Airlines — also promised to pay for accommodations for passengers stranded overnight.
Questions arose again around reimbursing consumers for out-of-pocket costs after Southwest Airlines canceled nearly 17,000 flights during a December meltdown in service. The Transportation and Justice departments are investigating whether Southwest scheduled more flights than it realistically could handle.
The Transportation Department says it is working with the airlines to reduce cancellations and delays this summer, when air travel could exceed pre-coronavirus pandemic records.