OAN Roy Francis
3:25 PM – Tuesday, May 9, 2023
President Joe Biden has said that his administration is working on new rules which would require airlines to compensate passengers with cash for certain flight delays and cancellations.
Biden said that the “historic new rule” will make it mandatory for United States airlines to compensate travelers with meals, hotels, taxis and rebooking fees and cash, miles and/or travel vouchers.
The move by the Biden administration is aimed at helping travelers by cracking down on airlines. According to United States Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, this move is coming in preparation for the expected increase in summer travel.
“Summer travel is going to put enormous pressure on the system,” Buttigieg said. “Airlines need to accept their fundamental responsibility to better serve passengers.”
The Transportation Department said that it is in the process of writing regulations that will demand that airlines cover expenses such as meals and hotels if the airline is responsible for flight delays. Most airlines had already voluntarily committed to provide meals and lodging for stranded passengers, however they refused to give monetary compensation.
The Airlines for America, a trade association which represents Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines, among others, said that U.S. Airlines “have no incentive to delay or cancel a flight and do everything in their control to ensure flights depart and arrive on time, but safety is always the top priority.”
Airlines have pointed back at the Biden administration saying that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that it does not have enough air traffic controllers to operate all the possible flights in the country. The administration has acknowledged that it is operating 10% fewer flights compared to the number of flights in 2019 in order to reduce overall pressure on the system.
Biden said that the rules will be proposed by the end of 2023, but could take years to finalize them. however, some carriers have questioned whether the administration has the authority to mandate such compensations.
Many have accused the Biden administration of trying to divert attention from rising prices and the high inflation by falling back on airlines and demanding that they compensate consumers.
The U.S. Department of Transportation did not clarify or provide details on how much cash it will require airlines to pay passengers for delays, with no exact timeline provided either.
Many have speculated whether airlines will start to raise the prices of flights as a result of the Biden administration pushing them to provide compensation for flight delays.
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