NPR reports Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is calling on the U.S. Department of Transportation and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to start fining airlines for last-minute cancellations.
Letter Asks for Refunds on Flights Delayed Over One Hour, Fines for Cancellations
In the two-page letter posted to Twitter, Sanders is asking the DOT to take several measures towards protecting the flying public. In addition to demanding fines for cancellations due to unavailable airline staff, the two-time presidential candidate also wants airlines to give customers a refund if their flight is delayed by more than one hour.
The American people are sick of airlines ripping them off, canceling flights at the last minute and delaying flights for hours on end. It’s time for @SecretaryPete to fine airlines $55,000 per passenger for every flight cancellation they know can’t be fully staffed. pic.twitter.com/NE7H03U9QU
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) June 29, 2022
“During the pandemic, when air travel came to a near halt, U.S. taxpayers came to the rescue and gave $54 billion to the airline industry,” writes Sanders in his letter. “Given all of the generous taxpayer support that has been provided to the airline industry, all of us have a responsibility to make sure that passengers and crew members are treated with respect, not contempt.”
The letter comes before what is anticipated to be a very busy – and very stressful – Independence Day weekend for both airlines and passengers. Newsweek reports through the first six months of 2022, over 121,900 flights within, to, or from the United States have been cancelled, which is more than the same time in 2021. The problem is anticipated to be so bad, Delta Air Lines is offering flyers a full waiver to change their flights between July 1 and 4, 2022.
In previous comments, Buttigieg sent sympathies to flyers after he experienced a flight cancellation returning to Washington, D.C. Although the DOT continues to monitor the situation, the Transportation Secretary did not commit to any penalties until after the Fourth of July.
Sanders’ Letter Comes as Airlines Want More from Governments
While Sanders says his requests are intended to protect the flying public, airlines say they need more aid and less regulation from governments. At the International Air Transport Association 2022 Annual General Meeting, leaders from the consortium asked for additional support in infrastructure and fewer laws, including a Brazilian bill which would require every airline to offer one checked bag per flyer.
Source: frugal travel guy