The Department of Transportation launched a new dashboard ahead of the Labor Day weekend to help air travelers better understand the compensation they are entitled to receive when airlines delay or cancel flights.
The rollout of the airline customer service dashboard is designed “to ensure the traveling public has easy access to information about services that U.S. airlines provide to mitigate passenger inconveniences when the cause of a cancellation or delay was due to circumstances within the airline’s control,” according to DOT.
The dashboard allows people to see what kinds of guarantees and services the 10 largest U.S. airlines offer passengers, while also providing travelers with a one-stop location to compare compensatory amenities when booking flights.
The dashboard only includes compensation offered for provider-related delays and cancellations; flight disruptions caused by weather conditions or security concerns, for example, are not included. Transportation said that the listed airlines and their regional operators “account for approximately 96% of the domestic scheduled passenger air traffic.”
The services listed on the dashboard include rebooking passengers on new flights at no additional cost and meal vouchers, as well as complimentary lodging and ground transportation for passengers affected by overnight delays or cancellations. Only one of the 10 airlines included in the dashboard—Allegiant Air—has not currently committed to providing any of the listed amenities to their passengers.
“Passengers deserve transparency and clarity on what to expect from an airline when there is a cancellation or disruption,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “This dashboard collects that information in one place so travelers can easily understand their rights, compare airline practices and make informed decisions.”
The rollout of the dashboard comes after Buttigieg has pushed major airlines to improve their customer service offerings, after months of flight disruptions caused by staffing shortages and a surge in air travel following the lifting of most coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Over the July 4th weekend alone, almost 17,000 flights were delayed and more than 1,400 others were canceled. Some travel companies are already forecasting that the upcoming Labor Day weekend could be the busiest travel weekend of the summer.
Last month, Buttigieg wrote a letter to the CEOs of the 10 major U.S. airlines, telling them about the launch of the dashboard and calling the number of flight disruptions this year “unacceptable.” Buttigieg noted in the letter that, over the first six months of 2022, roughly 24% of domestic flights had been delayed and 3.2% were canceled.
“I urge you to take this opportunity to assess your customer service plan to ensure that it guarantees adequate amenities and services to help passengers with expenses and inconveniences due to delays and cancellations,” Buttigieg wrote in the Aug. 18 letter.
In a press release announcing the launch of the dashboard, DOT said that airlines have made significant strides in their customer service offerings since receiving the secretary’s message.
“For example, no airline unconditionally guaranteed meal vouchers or hotels prior to Secretary Buttigieg’s letter,” the press release noted. “Now, nine of the 10 guarantee meals and eight of the 10 guarantee hotel accommodations when an airline issue causes the delay or cancellation.”