As air travel has returned to pre-pandemic levels over the past several months, airports and airlines have struggled to keep up with the growth in demand. CBS News has received a letter sent to JetBlue Airways by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in which he called the frequent flight delays and cancellations in the US “unacceptable”.

In Thursday’s letter, Buttigieg said he had also written to nine of the country’s other major airlines.

According to the letter, an estimated 24% of domestic flights were delayed and 3.2% canceled in the first half of 2022.

To help customers, the Department of Transportation is building a website — scheduled to go live before Labor Day weekend — that will clearly display each airline’s cancellation, delay and refund policies, Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg said, “When passengers experience cancellations and delays, they are entitled to clear and transparent information about the services your airline provides, in order to avoid the costs and inconveniences that result from these disruptions.” To be.”

He also called on airlines to provide meal vouchers to customers whose delay is more than three hours, and to provide accommodation to those who have to stay overnight due to disruption in their flight which is “under the control of the carrier”. ” Huh.

“Irrespective of the reason for delay or cancellation, the department expects airlines to provide timely and responsive customer service during and after flight disruptions,” the secretary said.

In response to the letter, industry group Airlines for America said in a statement that US airlines are facing several challenges in the wake of the pandemic, including a “tight labor market”. But, it said, airlines are willing to work with the Department of Transportation, and are operating in accordance with federal regulations.

A4A noted that in 2020 and 2021, American airlines issued a total of $21.8 billion in cash refunds to its customers.

A4A also said that weather and the national airspace system caused 63% of flight cancellations in the first five months of 2022. Airlines also cut their summer schedules to ensure they remain reliable for their customers.

“Carriers strive to provide the highest level of customer service and look forward to working with DOT to continue to provide transparency for the traveling public,” A4A wrote.

CBS News has contacted several major US airlines seeking comment. Alaska, American, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest and United all dictated the A4A statement.

In its own statement, Delta said it remains focused on “strong operational performance” — noting that only 15 of its 20,000 total flights were canceled last weekend. It also said that it has refunded more than 11 million tickets totaling $6 billion since the start of 2020.

“As always, Delta continues to provide eligible passengers with full and timely refunds when we have canceled a flight or made a significant schedule change,” the statement said.

Over the past several months, US airports have seen an increase in the number of passengers going through TSA screening and boarding flights. However, the flight cancellation rate is about one-third since the same time in 2019, while the delay rate is about one-fourth, The Associated Press reports.

Airlines have blamed the Federal Aviation Administration for the delay, while the FAA has claimed airlines are scheduling flights they cannot physically support, and pilots blame airlines for increased workloads and flight hours. Blamed for it, they claim it could be a security issue. Meanwhile, just ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, also known as “Airmageddon,” CBS News reported that passenger complaints against airlines were 300% higher than in 2019.

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