Pete Buttigieg doesn’t mess around.
The former presidential candidate and mayor turned transportation secretary knows that the state of air travel at the moment is suboptimal for the consumer. Flight delays and outright cancellations are becoming more common, as are baggage loss and other headaches.
In response, Buttigieg placed a number of ultimatums on the airline industry, and also announced a number of proposals that the industry certainly won’t like.
Onlookers hypothesized that this might be a way for Buttigieg to keep his name in the headlines, should President Biden decline to run for re-election. (Although Biden has repeatedly stated that he intends to run for another term.) It certainly doesn’t hurt Buttigieg’s Q ratings that he is tackling a national pain point by taking on an industry that many people are frustrated with.
And based on the recent move by the DOT, Buttigieg doesn’t plan to back down anytime soon.
What did the Ministry of Transportation do this time?
The Department of Transportation has proposed a rule requiring sellers of airline tickets, including airlines such as Delta (DA) and united (UAL) as well as third-party retailers like Travelocity, to disclose all surcharges up front, the first time a flight ticket is shown, so customers know the exact price before committing.
This includes baggage fees, flight change fees, cancellation fees, and fees to sit with your children, “when fare and schedule information for flights to, into and from the United States is provided,” the Department of Transportation said in a press release, adding, “The proposal seeks to provide customers with information They need to choose the best deal. Otherwise, surprise fees can add up quickly and beat what might at first glance seem like cheap fare.”
Under the proposal, all added charges should be shown as passenger-specific or itinerary-specific, based on the consumer’s choice.
“Airline passengers deserve to know the full and true cost of their flights before they buy a ticket,” Pete Buttigieg said. “This proposed new rule will require airlines to be transparent with customers about the fees they charge, which will help travelers make informed decisions and save money.”
The proposal will also make that, despite fluctuations in ticket prices, carriers and ticket agents will be required to allow consumers traveling with a young child to purchase seats at the advertised fare at all points of sale.
In addition, the proposal would require carriers to provide usable, current and accurate information regarding baggage fees, change fees, cancellation fees and adjacent seating fees for families traveling with young children, if any, to ticket agents selling or offering carrier fare. and scheduling information.
Minister Pete was already in the airline case recently
Earlier this summer, Buttigieg announced a proposal that would expand customers’ rights, in terms of protections for cancellations and refunds for both domestic and international flights.
Passengers will be entitled to a refund if their flight is canceled, or if departure or arrival times are at least three hours late for domestic flights or at least six hours for international flights and the customer chooses not to take the flight.
Customers are also entitled to a refund if the airport of departure or arrival changes or the number of transfers on the itinerary is increased, or if the original aircraft has to be replaced with another but there is a significant difference in the amenities offered on board and the overall travel experience as a result.
“This proposed new rule will protect the rights of travelers and help ensure that they receive the timely refunds they are entitled to from the airlines,” Buttigieg stated.
He also told the airline industry in a letter to work together, basically, and berated them for the increasing cancellations and delays, noting “These aren’t just numbers. These are birthday parties, graduations, time with loved ones, and important meetings.”
He also demanded that airlines provide meal vouchers for any passengers who have to wait more than three hours, and that travelers stranded overnight receive free accommodation.
In an effort to keep up the pressure, the Department of Transportation recently launched a feature on its website that allows travelers to compare airline amenities to customers during delays and cancellations.