The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has unveiled a new tool, an online dashboard to inform airline passengers of the policies airlines have in place for disruptions to flights that are within the airlines’ control.
This comes in wake of complaints of flight problems and refunds, which doubled nationwide in the first half of this year as compared to the last year 2021.
It displays a list of the top ten U.S. airlines along with information on whether they assist travelers in rebooking flights without additional fees and provide food vouchers, hotel rooms, or meal vouchers following a travel delay.
Passengers can use this new dashboard to compare amenities that airlines offer to provide, in the event of controllable flight cancellation or delays.
Controllable flight cancellation is basically the delay or cancellation caused by the airlines and within the airline’s control, for example, delay due to:
- Cabin cleaning.
- Baggage loading.
- Maintenance or Crew problems.
- Mechanical Problems.
Pete Buttigieg, the current U.S. transportation secretary, stated, “Passengers deserve transparency and clarity regarding what to expect from an airline in the event of a flight cancellation or delay.
Pete Buttigieg, also wrote a letter to airline CEOs two weeks ago telling them that the DOT would release its dashboard before Labor Day and urging them to make final preparations.
What does this dashboard do?
This dashboard collects, and compiles all of the data into one convenient location, making it much simpler for passengers to learn about their rights, compare airline practices, examine the policies of various airlines, and make informed decisions.
Upgraded DOT airline customer service dashboard
Before the dashboard was released, it was unclear what each airline would and would not cover in the event of a delayed or canceled flight that was due to the fault of the airline’s control. It seemed to be up to the discretion of the airline employee handling the situation as to whether or not the airline would pay for a hotel and/or meals.
Controlled flight cancellation – Are Passengers entitled to compensation?
In the event of flight delays and cancellations, Passengers may be entitled to compensation as outlined in the airlines’ customer service plans, but these plans can be confusing to read and may not provide adequate compensation.
No matter what the reason, if airlines cancel or significantly alter a passenger’s flight. They are expected to promptly repay all booked passengers (including those with non-refundable tickets).
Airlines would only rebook affected passengers onto alternative flights but would not compensate them monetarily or otherwise, such as by providing hotel stays or meals.
However, that is no longer the case now. With the new DOT dashboard, air travelers can see what services and amenities their chosen airline will and will not provide.
The agency maintains its commitment to passengers, It will continue to support passengers and hold airlines responsible for enforcing airlines’ compliance with their customer obligations.
The Department of Transportation will hold airlines accountable for any broken service guarantees. The DOT is hoping that by enforcing these minimum standards, airlines will provide the basic necessities that their customers have come to expect.
Change in Situation when airlines are at fault
When it comes to handling situations where airlines are at fault for delays or cancellations, Nine of the Ten largest U.S. airlines have changed their policies. earlier “no airline unconditionally guaranteed meal vouchers or hotels…” before the Secretary’s letter. but now things have changed.
Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines are just a few of the airlines highlighted on the dashboard.
Approximately 96 percent of domestic scheduled passenger air traffic is carried by these ten major U.S. airlines and their regional operating partners, who operate flights for these U.S. airlines.
Specific services as provided by each airline
Now, Passengers can use the dashboard to compare the customer service plans offered by different airlines, which should make it easier for them to make a booking. While the site’s dropdown menu only lets you choose one airline at a time, a downloadable PDF contains a comprehensive chart showing all of the options.
What airlines will pay for in the event of cancellations is outlined in the first image below.
It’s not shocking that some budget (low-cost carriers) airlines don’t include basics like ground transportation and hotel transfers in their packages. However, shuttles are typically available at the hotels to which airlines direct their passengers.
What airlines will pay for in the event of flight delays:
When we compare airline practices, the only distinction between the two tables is that in the event of a significant delay, passengers on Hawaiian Airlines will not rebook passengers on a flight with another airline.
The DOT has other enhancements in mind as well.
A new regulation is being considered that would:
- When a flight is canceled or significantly altered, passengers should be notified in advance that they are entitled to a refund.
- Provide a definition of what constitutes a material alteration or cancellation that would warrant a refund to the customer.
- It should be mandatory for airlines to offer non-expiring vouchers or travel credits to customers who are unable to fly due to communicable diseases like COVID-19.
- Passengers who are unable to or advised not to travel due to a serious contagious disease must be given a full refund, rather than a non-expiring travel credit or voucher, from airlines that receive significant government assistance related to a pandemic. The Department is also looking into a potential new rulemaking that would provide passengers with even more protections in the event of flight delay.
In theory, the new dashboard is a fantastic resource for travelers, and the DOT’s proposed regulations could significantly alter the industry. Will airlines actually do what they’ve said they’ll do? Will they try to avoid compensating customers by blaming the weather or some other external factor?
When planning a trip, why is it crucial to acquire travel insurance?
Delays in flights are the bane of every traveler’s existence. There are, however, many causes for them to occur. Travelers who have purchased travel insurance that includes coverage for flight delays will be able to get some relief in these situations.
If a passenger’s flight is delayed for longer than the policy allows, the company that issued the travel insurance policy may be responsible for covering the passenger’s additional expenses incurred at the airport.
If a flight is delayed because of things like bad weather, a lack of essential airline staff, mechanical problems with the plane, heavy traffic, problems with the crew’s schedule, or flight cancellations or rescheduling, the insurance company will pay out.
Also read: Trip Insurance: How Does It Work? to acquire an in-depth understanding of how to obtain Trip Insurance
Do I need to get travel insurance?
Yes. If something goes wrong while you’re away, a travel insurance policy can help cover the costs. When you purchase a plan from OnshoreKare, you’ll be protected in the event of trip cancellation, flight delay/cancellation, lost luggage, medical emergencies, and evacuations, among other things. Having to pay for an accident out of your own pocket should be the last thing on your mind.
There is always some degree of risk involved when you travel. Trip cancellation, flight disruptions, delays and cancellations, stolen/lost luggage, medical emergencies, emergency evacuations, and so on are just some of the things that can go wrong while traveling or planning to travel. Everything like that is taken care of, for you, by OnshoreKare! When traveling to the United States, you can rely on us for comprehensive coverage and high-quality service. Our support lines are staffed around the clock to answer any questions you may have about your upcoming trip.