Experts predicted a chaotic summer of travel, and they were right. The Department of Transportation (DOT) released numbers showing that consumer complaints are still over 200% from pre-pandemic levels.
The journey has started since the historic lows we saw during the pandemic. There have also been increasing delays and cancellations of flights.
In May, airlines reported 602,950 scheduled domestic flights — 11,993 of which were canceled, prompting thousands of complaints to the Department of Transportation and prompting them to take action.
“This latest news is about a new rule we’re proposing that would expand passengers’ rights for things like refunds when your flight is delayed or when you have an extreme delay or some other change in itinerary that really changes the whole experience.” explained US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Of the 4,344 complaints received in May, more than 30% were about refunds.
For years, the DOT has required airlines to issue refunds if a cancellation or significant delay occurs, but until now, it hasn’t defined one important thing, allowing them to refuse a refund or issue only a voucher .
The Department for Transport proposes that significant changes to a flight would include delays of three or more hours domestically and six hours abroad, changes in departure or arrival airport, an increase in the number of connections on the route and changes in the type of planes.
“When Americans buy an airline ticket, they should get to their destination safely, reliably and affordably… This new proposed rule would protect the rights of travelers and help them receive the timely refunds they deserve from the airlines,” Buttigieg said. .
After speaking with travelers at the San Luis Obispo airport, it appears the Central Coast has, for the most part, been spared the burden of delays. But if it didn’t happen here, most experienced a delay elsewhere.
“We had to end up spending the night in Florida on our way to California,” recalled airline passenger Shannon Stiener.
According to Flight Aware, on Monday, there were more than 700 delays and 90 cancellations nationwide. With numbers like these, passengers are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.
“I was really worried about it this morning and I was like, oh my god, because I had a connecting flight in San Francisco and they only have two flights that come here,” said traveler Crystal Gries.
With these new proposed rules, DOT hopes to move toward reducing the number of delays, resulting in a more pleasant customer experience.
This rule has not yet been put into effect. There is initially a 90-day period when the public can voice their opinion before Secretary Buttigieg signs the proposal.