Airlines are causing huge disruptions to travelers by canceling flights, delaying numerous other flights, and bumping passengers off of flights they paid for. It doesn't have to be this way. It's time for the government to act.
Senator Bernie Sanders just called on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to use his vast regulatory powers to crack down on the airlines.1 He could fine airlines for delaying flights, issue full refunds, and help stop the potentially fraudulent practice of airlines selling tickets for flights they know will be canceled.
It's time for the federal government to protect passengers and crack down on corporate greed. And as the summer travel season gets under way, it's urgent that the government act quickly.
Sign the petition: Tell Pete Buttigieg to protect passengers and crack down on airline malpractice!
During the pandemic taxpayers gave the airlines more than $50 billion in aid to help get them through the long periods of lockdown. Airlines were supposed to use that money to keep their staff paid so that when restrictions eased, they would have the staff to help get people flying again.
Instead, many airlines furloughed or gave early retirement to their staff.2 And when the federal money ran out, rather than dig into their own profits to keep staff employed, many airlines instead chose to raise fares and operate without enough staff.
The result is chaos: people are missing weddings, funerals, family reunions, graduations, business meetings, and other important events -- many of which were postponed during the first years of the pandemic.
There's precedent for expecting Pete Buttigieg to act. In 2010, President Obama's Transportation Secretary issued the maximum fine, $27,500 per passenger, for airlines that left planes on the tarmac over 3 hours.3 It worked.
Buttigieg could help end the plague of canceled and delayed flights and ensure travelers aren't getting taken advantage of by the airlines. But we need to urge him to act.
Add your name: Tell Pete Buttigieg to protect passengers and crack down on the airlines!
1. NBC News, "Bernie Sanders calls on Buttigieg to take action amid flight delays, cancellations," June 29, 2022.
2. The Washington Post, "Taxpayers spent billions bailing out airlines. Did the industry hold up its end of the deal?," December 14, 2021.
3. Reuters, "Airlines face fines for violating delay rule," April 27, 2010.