DOT launches new online tool, following summer of delays & cancellations

·2 min read

It is another busy travel weekend and it comes after a summer filled with crowded airports, canceled flights, and frustrated flyers.

That’s why the federal government has just unveiled a new tool that can help you the next time you’re faced with a delayed or canceled flight.

The U.S. Department of Transportation now has a new online dashboard showing what benefits are available when things go wrong at the airport.

It shows a list of the ten largest U.S. airlines and whether they offer meal vouchers, hotel accommodations or help in rebooking a new flight at no additional cost after a travel disruption.

“If I knew I would be compensated for the cancellation, then that does make a difference for which airline I choose to fly,” said traveler Cheryl Twyman, traveler.

Those services would only be available if your flight is canceled or delayed because of an issue under the airline’s control. This includes a mechanical or a staffing issue but unfortunately not the weather.

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“It’s good to know it exists,” said traveler Tyrese Bender.

This comes as complaints soar nationwide. New federal data shows airline complaints doubled for the first half of this year compared to 2021 with flight problems and refunds representing the top two frustrations.

The Washington News Bureau also talked with Airlines for America, a trade group that represents several large U.S. airline carriers.

In a statement about the dashboard, a spokesperson said, “Carriers welcome opportunities to simplify travel policies, clarify existing practices and increase transparency for travelers.”

Some travelers say this dashboard is a good first step but doesn’t address all their problems.

“It’s hard to pay for inconvenience if I’m just leisurely traveling then that’s one thing but for business, it might make a substantial impact of me making a deal or not,” one traveler said.

Biden administration officials say they’re working on a proposed rule that would require airlines to provide travel credits that do not expire when you can’t travel because you have COVID-19.

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“U.S. airlines are committed to offering a high level of customer service and providing a positive, safe flight experience for all passengers. Carriers welcome opportunities to simplify travel policies, clarify existing practices and increase transparency for travelers. U.S. airlines publicize their customer service plans on their individual websites, and the newly launched airline industry dashboard gives travelers another platform to access that information,” Airlines for America said in a statement.

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