The Department of Transportation has introduced a customer service dashboard amid months of widespread airline cancellations and delays to assist tourists ahead of the Labor Day weekend’s busy travel season.
In the event of flight delays or cancellations, passengers may check the dashboard to discover what assurances, refunds, or compensation the main domestic airlines provide.
It’s intended to provide customers the freedom to compare airlines and choose the ones that provide the highest rewards.
The dashboard is a component of an ongoing pressure campaign led by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has publicly pressed the major airlines to improve service and transparency after a summer blighted by flight cancellations and delays.
Airlines struggled to keep up as summer traffic almost reached pre-coronavirus pandemic levels; huge cancellations were attributed to a lack of personnel, notably among pilots.
Buttigieg said in a statement on Wednesday that “passengers need openness and clarity on what to expect from an airline when there is a cancellation or interruption.”
He said that the new tool will make it easier for passengers to “compare airline policies, understand their rights, and make wise choices.”
The dashboard examines the rules of all the main domestic airlines on things like whether they provide meals for delays of more than three hours and if they provide free flight rebooking on the same or other carriers.
It focuses on cancellations or delays that are “controllable,” that is, those brought on by technical problems, personnel concerns, or hold-ups in fuelling, cleaning, or luggage handling.
Weather-related cancellations or delays are not taken into account.
The Transportation Department is hopeful that the dashboard would boost carrier competition and lead to more consumer protection and transparency.
“Carriers are open to new initiatives to improve passenger transparency, explain current procedures, and simplify travel regulations.
The websites of various U.S. airlines provide information on their customer service programmes “Airlines for America, a business trade group, stated in a statement.
Travelers now have “an additional platform to obtain that information” thanks to the new dashboard.
According to monitoring firm FlightAware, airlines have cancelled over 146,000 flights this year, or 2.6% of all flights, while almost 1.3 million flights have experienced delays.
In comparison to the same time in 2019, before the pandemic, the rate of cancellations is up almost one-third, and the rate of delays is up almost one-fourth.
Many of the delays have been attributed by federal authorities to understaffing at airlines, which pushed staff to leave once the epidemic began.
Air traffic controllers are employed by the Federal Aviation Administration, which the airlines have responded by blaming for staffing issues.