The Biden administration is preparing legislation to address consumer benefits received because of flight delays and cancellations after last year’s holiday travel disaster wreaked havoc on airline customers.
On Monday (May 8), the White House and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced a rulemaking process to consider imposing airline requirements for cancellations and delays on operated routes.
Possible demands would include compensation, in addition to refunds and other conveniences for consumers, food or meal vouchers, lodging, hotel transportation, and timely customer service. The rules also include an expanded dashboard on FlightRights.gov that shows the services each airline offers.
The Biden administration moved to impose new requirements on airlines after airlines and the federal government faced considerable backlash over massive flight delays and cancellations that left travelers stranded during the holiday season last year.
The outages included more than 3,000 canceled flights in a single day in late December, including more than 2,600 Southwest Airlines flights. Passengers criticized airlines for their lack of accommodation when dealing with delays and cancellations. The industry’s issues also became a political defeat for Buttigieg, who suffered from the criticism.
The former Indiana mayor has become a favorite target of Republican ire over flight cancellations and train derailments that have made national headlines and even called for his resignation.
The efforts announced Monday are part of a broader attempt by the Biden administration to regulate the airline industry, including rules designed to improve price transparency, with Biden calling on Congress to pass the “Junk Fee Prevention Act,” which would require airlines to be upfront with hidden or additional fees.