DOT launches new dashboard with airline offers following massive delays & cancellations

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Another busy travel weekend is coming up and it comes after a summer filled with crowded airports, canceled flights and frustrated fliers.

That’s why the federal government just unveiled a new tool that can help you the next time you’re faced with a delayed or canceled flight.

Starting Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation has a new online dashboard showing what benefits are available when things go wrong at the airport.

It shows a list of the ten largest U.S. airlines and whether they offer meal vouchers, hotel accommodations or help rebooking a new flight at no additional cost after a travel disruption.

“If I knew I would be compensated for the cancellation then that does make a difference for which airline I choose to fly,” said traveler Cheryl Twyman.

Those services would only be available if your flight is cancelled or delayed because of an issue under the airline’s control. This includes a mechanical or a staffing issue but unfortunately not the weather.

“It’s good to know it exists,” said traveler Tyrese Bender.

This comes as complaints soar nationwide. New federal data shows airline complaints doubled for the first half of this year compared to 2021 with flight problems and refunds representing the top two frustrations.

The Washington News Bureau also talked with Airlines for America, a trade group that represents several large U.S. airline carriers.

In a statement about the dashboard, a spokesperson said, “Carriers welcome opportunities to simplify travel policies, clarify existing practices and increase transparency for travelers.”

Biden Administration officials say they’re working on a proposed rule that would require airlines to provide travel credits that do not expire when you can’t travel because you have COVID-19.

Full statement from Airlines for America:

“U.S. airlines are committed to offering a high level of customer service and providing a positive, safe flight experience for all passengers. Carriers welcome opportunities to simplify travel policies, clarify existing practices and increase transparency for travelers. U.S. airlines publicize their customer service plans on their individual websites, and the newly launched airline industry dashboard gives travelers another platform to access that information.

As travelers return to the skies, U.S. airlines are making every effort – including reducing schedules, ramping up hiring initiatives and increasing communication with travelers – to provide seamless air travel while navigating a range of challenges outside carrier control, such as inclement weather. This summer, carriers have proactively adjusted their staffing models to ensure they are adequately staffed for each flight including the time it takes to hire and train new employees. Airlines also launched aggressive hiring campaigns to hire for positions across the industry, which have been highly effective. In June, U.S. airline employment reached an all-time high of more than 767,000 employees, and A4A passenger carriers were staffed with 10 percent more pilots per 1,000 block hour compared to pre-pandemic.”