The Associated Press reports Buttigieg met virtually with a number of heads of major carriers on Thursday to verify the measures that airlines are taking in order to keep operations running throughout summer. Speaking of the meeting between himself and the CEOs, the agency reports that Buttigieg told NBC News, “I let them know that this is a moment when we are really counting on them to deliver reliably for the traveling public.”
Buttigieg Holding Carriers Responsible For Poor Performance
On Thursday alone, the AP reported that about 1,500 flights were canceled due to bad weather on the East Coast. Buttigieg himself was impacted by these cancelations and had to drive from Washington to New York after his flight was grounded.
This round of disruption comes weeks after just under 3,000 flights were scrapped around Memorial Day weekend. Buttigieg has urged carriers to ensure that they can cope with passenger demand – which has surged with the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic – with the personnel and resources that they currently have. Additionally, he is pressing airlines to take on more staff in customer service roles to help further ease the situation.
It’s possible that Buttigieg and the US Department of Transportation (DOT) may also turn to enforcement actions – which may result in fines – in order to enhance the customer service standards of carriers. However Buttigieg has said that he is waiting to see how carriers perform during the rest of the summer period before turning to any further measures.
While seasonal storms and bad weather have had an impact on flight cancelations in recent weeks, carriers admit to having been taken aback by the speed at which travel demand has recovered from the pandemic. As AP acknowledges, many are now struggling to swiftly replace lost staff – especially pilots – and this has had a knock-on impact on operations from a customer service perspective. But while pilots can take months to recruit and train, the DOT maintains that customer service staff can be quickly and seamlessly added to personnel rosters to bolster airline performance and keep travelers happy.
Feature image courtesy: kmf164/flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
Source: frugal travel guy