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Buttigieg Responds After Hundreds of Flight Cancelations Reported Over July 4 Weekend
By: Mimi Nguyen Ly
July 3, 2022: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg informed travelers about how to get refunds amid hundreds of cancellations and thousands of delays in flights across the United States ahead of July 4.
According to airline tracking service FlightAware.com, as of Saturday, over 5,800 flights were delayed in the United States, including those in and out of the country. There were also at least 655 canceled flights, which is more than three times the average of about 210 canceled flights daily. As of Sunday morning, the tracking service said 211 flights were canceled and more than 938 delays were reported nationwide.
“Flight canceled? You are entitled to a prompt refund. Learn more about your rights at our Consumer Protection site,” Buttigieg wrote on Twitter with a link to the Department of Transportation’s website on Saturday.
According to the Transportation Department website, with the exception of non-refundable tickets, customers are entitled to a refund from airlines when a flight is canceled or delayed, or when bags are lost. They are also entitled to some refund if they were involuntarily moved to a lower class of service.
In the case of delayed flights, refunds only apply when the delay or schedule change is “significant,” which is something the transportation department determines on a case-by-case basis.
Customers can get a refund from airlines if they booked directly with them. Those who booked with third-party companies would need to obtain their refund via the travel agent.
Some 2.49 million travelers went through security checkpoints at U.S. airports on Friday, which is even higher than the 2.46 million travelers earlier in the week, according to data released by the Transportation Security Administration on Saturday. The passenger volume on Friday was a 13 percent increase from July 1 in 2021, which was the Thursday before the July 4 holiday.
Image above: Travelers wait at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, on July 1, 2022. (Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
Airlines continue to struggle to keep up with the high travel demand amid staffing shortages, high fuel costs, and other factors such as the weather, which on Saturday included thunderstorms on the East Coast and parts of the Midwest.
Separately, more than 12,000 American Airlines flights in July were lacking a captain, first officer, or both, after a glitch in the company’s platform for scheduling flights allowed pilots to drop assignments, CNBC reported on Saturday, citing the airline’s pilot’s union.
The airline said in a statement that the technical glitch meant that certain flights were swapped when they shouldn’t have been allowed to be.
“We already have restored the vast majority of the affected trips and do not anticipate any operational impact because of this issue,” it said.
Source: The Associated Press and Jack Phillips