New flight dashboard will help vacationers get what they deserve during delays, cancellations
Sep 1, 2022, 4:00 PM | Updated: 4:04 pm
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
From crew shortages to severe weather to post-COVID-19 demand, thousands of airline flights have been canceled or delayed this year, and with a new online dashboard from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) travelers will be able to check and see what kinds of guarantees, refunds, or compensation major domestic airlines offer in case of flight delays or cancellations.
With DOT rules, airlines are required to give you a refund if your flight is canceled or “significantly delayed,” but they say airlines are not always upfront about refunds.
SeaTac Airport expects more than 150,000 travelers per day this holiday weekend
Moreover, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said it can be difficult to figure out what airlines are willing to do if your flight is delayed because of crew shortages, mechanical problems, or other things largely under the airlines’ control.
“For example, if your flight is significantly delayed, will the airline provide you with a meal voucher? If your flight is canceled and you’re stranded, is the airline committed to covering hotel costs?” Buttigieg said, “It shouldn’t be a mystery.”
So in time for the Labor Day weekend, he said the Transportation Department has launched an Airline Customer Service Dashboard.
So far this year, airlines have canceled about 146,000 flights, or 2.6% of all flights, and nearly 1.3 million flights have been delayed, according to tracking service FlightAware. The rate of cancellations is up about one-third from the same period in 2019, before the pandemic, and the rate of delays is up nearly one-fourth.
“You can go to our website and compare airline practices all in one place,” Buttigieg said. “And if you are in a frustrating situation – like a delay or a cancellation – you can quickly see what to expect from the airline.”
The site also provides links to the airline’s customer service plans, and the push for transparency may already be benefiting passengers.
Two weeks ago, Buttigieg said he notified airlines about the dashboard, and all but one of the ten largest U.S. airlines made what the DOT calls “significant” changes. More are offering meals and accommodations for delayed or canceled flights.
The DOT is gathering comments on rules that would — among other things — require airlines to provide “non-expiring” vouchers or travel credits when passengers can’t travel because they have COVID-19 or other communicable diseases.