In response to massive numbers of flight cancellations and delays, the Department of Transportation announced a new online dashboard for travelers on Thursday.
The Associated Press reported that the dashboard would allow travelers to compare refunds and compensation offered by carriers for flight delays or cancellations. The online dashboard will provide users with information about which domestic airlines offer the best options to ensure a smoother travel experience.
“Throughout 2022, Americans have experienced an unacceptable level of flight delays and cancellations,” stated a Thursday press release issued by the Department of Transportation.
An estimated 150,000 flights have been canceled so far this year, reported FlightAware’s reporting system. In addition, approximately 21% of all scheduled flights this year had been delayed.
“The dashboard provides air travelers a one-stop location to obtain information on the services and amenities they should receive from airlines if they experience delays or cancellations caused by something within the airline’s control like a mechanical or staffing issue,” wrote the DOT.
The new tool is meant to give users more control over their travel experience and a transparent way to check airline policies. It displays the various major airlines and their “commitments for controllable cancellations.” The dashboard shows which carriers will provide free rebooking options on the same or other airlines, a meal when a cancellation results in a significant delay, and hotel accommodations for canceled flights.
The dashboard is designed to protect customers from interruptions due to staffing shortages and mechanical issues. It does not include airline policies related to weather disruptions or other uncontrollable events.
The Department of Transportation expressed hope that the new dashboard will encourage domestic airlines to compete and provide superior service to travelers.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg put pressure on airlines to improve their customer service and provide reasonable solutions to the mass cancellations and delays plaguing traveler plans.
“Passengers deserve transparency and clarity on what to expect from an airline when there is a cancellation or disruption,” said Buttigieg. “This dashboard collects that information in one place so travelers can easily understand their rights, compare airline practices, and make informed decisions. The Department will continue to support passengers and to hold airlines responsible for adhering to their customer obligations.”
The DOT stated, “Secretary Buttigieg wrote a letter to airline CEOs informing them that DOT would publish the dashboard before Labor Day and urged the airlines to improve their customer service plans before the release. As a result, all but one of the ten largest U.S. airlines made significant changes to their plans to improve services provided to passengers when their flights are canceled or delayed because of an airline issue.”