Biden's New Airline Rule Is Government Working For The People
Biden's new rule for the airline industry will eliminate a form of consumer abuse and shows what happens when government puts people first.
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Biden Cracks Down On Airline Abuse Of Passengers
When Southwest experienced a total holiday meltdown that threw the nation’s flight system into chaos and left holiday travelers stranded with no recourse, the crisis demonstrated the lack of passenger rights in the airline system. However, the holiday implosion was not a one-off. In December 2022, just 69.1% of flights took off on time. That was down more than 6% from 2021 and almost 10% from 2020, and delays and cancelations with no compensation have been an air travel fact of life.
When a passenger’s flight doesn’t take off on time, the actual stranded human beings have little recourse, and cash compensation has been something that flatly was not offered by the airlines.
That is about to change.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) will announce new rules requiring airlines to provide cash compensation and cover amenities for stranded passengers.
The DOT announced in a statement provided to PoliticusUSA:
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced plans to launch a new rulemaking that is aimed at requiring airlines to provide compensation and cover expenses for amenities such as meals, hotels, and rebooking when airlines are responsible for stranding passengers. After a two-year DOT push to improve the passenger experience, the ten largest airlines guarantee meals and free rebooking on the same airline and nine guarantee hotel accommodations as part of the Department’s Airline Customer Service Dashboard.
DOT expanded the dashboard today at FlightRights.Gov to highlight which airlines currently offer cash compensation, provide travel credits or vouchers, or award frequent flyer miles when they cause flight delays or cancellations. DOT’s planned rulemaking would make passenger compensation and amenities mandatory so that travelers are taken care of when airlines cause flight disruptions.
In what other industries do consumers pay for a service, get physically stranded when the service is not delivered, then have to spend more money on basics like food and shelter because the provider broke its agreement?
If compensation is offered, it is still mostly in the form of vouchers that have to be applied for after the fact. If passengers don’t ask for compensation, again in the form of a voucher that will often show up weeks or months after an incident, they will not be given anything.
The Biden administration has made progress on junk and hidden fees charged by airlines, but the airline industry has been borderline predatory toward its own consumers with outrageous policies like charging parents a fee to sit with their children on a flight unless they book directly through the airline, which is often more expensive, and still provides no guarantee that families will be seated together.
Jimmy Carter deregulated the airlines in 1978, which showed that Democrats have historically not been immune from the myth that deregulation is a one size fits all benefit.
`As we will discuss below, Biden’s action isn’t just about airlines, but it is part of an overall philosophy of governing that attempts to put people first.
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