22 AUGUST 2022
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It's about to get easier for Americans to find out what compensation is due when a flight is cancelled or delayed.
The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) is creating a new interactive “dashboard” where travellers will be able to find "easy to-read, comparative summary information on the services or amenities that each of the large US airlines provide when the cause of a cancellation or delay was due to circumstances within the airline’s control".
That is the wording of a letter by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg sent to all US airlines last Thursday.
Existing USDOT rules require airlines to offer customers refunds if their flights are cancelled for any reason, but policies on delays can be obscure, even though the information is required to be part of a federally mandated Customer Service Plan.
"When passengers do experience cancellations and delays, they deserve clear and transparent information on the services that your airline will provide, to address the expenses and inconveniences resulting from these disruptions", Buttigieg wrote.
The consumer dashboard is expected to be live on the USDOT's Aviation Consumer Protection webpage by the end of August.
Nearly a quarter of domestic flights were delayed and just over 3% were cancelled in the first half of this year, according to Secretary Buttigieg.
The USDOT is currently seeking public comment on when airlines should be required to refund passengers whose flights are cancelled or delayed.
"We are also contemplating options for rulemaking that would further expand the rights of airline passengers who experience disruptions", Buttigieg wrote. "The Department asks that airlines, at a minimum, provide meal vouchers for delays of 3 hours or more and lodging accommodations for passengers who must wait overnight at an airport because of disruptions within the carrier's control".
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