Nifty: DOT Airline Customer Service Dashboard

Nifty: DOT Airline Customer Service Dashboard

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Throughout the pandemic, airlines have not only been struggling with operating reliably, but they also haven’t done a great job with delivering on how they should in the event of irregular operations or flight cancelations. Along those lines, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has just rolled out a nifty new tool, which should help with holding airlines accountable when things go wrong.

DOT helps clarify airline passenger rights

The DOT has launched a new airline customer service dashboard, which clearly lays out what passengers should expect from airlines in the event of flight cancelations or delays. For example, when things go wrong, the webpage clarifies under what circumstances passengers are owed hotel rooms, meal vouchers, rebooking on another airline, etc.

Here’s the DOT dashboard for controllable cancelations:

Airline customer service dashboard for cancelations

Meanwhile here’s the DOT dashboard for controllable delays:

Airline customer service dashboard for delays

Here’s how US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg describes this new tool:

“Passengers deserve transparency and clarity on what to expect from an airline when there is a cancelation or disruption. 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.” 

It’s important to clarify that these accommodations are exclusively for situations where a cancelation or delay is within a carrier’s control, and it doesn’t apply to delays due to weather or other factors outside a carrier’s control (of course getting an airline to admit the real reason for a delay is half the battle).

If you’re worried you’ll get confused about the policies, I recommend just flying Allegiant. The carrier gives passengers the middle finger on all fronts. 😉

Don’t expect a lot when things go wrong with Frontier

Has anything actually changed here?

The primary benefit here is that the DOT has compiled the policies of all airlines, to make it easy for consumers to review this information either prior to booking, or when things go wrong. Have any airlines actually changed their policies as a result of this being published?

A couple of weeks ago Secretary Buttigieg wrote a letter to airline CEOs informing them that this dashboard would be published, and he urged airlines to improve their customer service plans before the release. The press release on this new feature claims that all but one (hi, Allegiant!) of the 10 largest US airlines made significant changes to their plans to improve service.

For example, no airline unconditionally guaranteed meal vouchers or hotels prior to this being published, while now meals are guaranteed by nine of 10 airlines, while hotels are guaranteed by eight of 10 airlines.

It’s important to understand that the DOT is providing a simplified overview of the policies of each airline, so you’ll want to look at the individual customer service plans of all US airlines to get the full details:

None of these policies are quite as simple as the chart makes it out to be. For example, four airlines promise to rebook passengers on other airlines at no cost in the event of a delay, but there are always going to be major restrictions associated with that (a minimum delay length).

United & JetBlue have good customer service plans

Bottom line

The DOT’s new airline customer service dashboard is a useful resource to reference. While it’s light on details, it gives you a good general overview of what you can potentially expect if things go wrong while flying. The key is that this only applies to “controllable” delays and cancelations, and you’ll want to consult each carrier’s customer commitment to see the terms associated with each of these benefits.

So while we’re not seeing much in the way of new rules here, I think it’s useful to be able to point airline agents to this page in situations where they claim they never rebook people on other airlines, never provide meal vouchers, etc.

What do you make of the new DOT airline customer service dashboard?

Conversations (17)
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  1. D3kingg Guest

    Seems like more of a fifth grader project. By no fault of his own ; Pete Buttigeg lacks the experience to hold the position of department of transportation. Same can be said for other government positions in this failed administration.

    This should have happened a long time ago in the event of an operational meltdown all US airlines should be required to reciprocate and honor tickets from other airlines. If Delta cancelled ten flights...

    Seems like more of a fifth grader project. By no fault of his own ; Pete Buttigeg lacks the experience to hold the position of department of transportation. Same can be said for other government positions in this failed administration.

    This should have happened a long time ago in the event of an operational meltdown all US airlines should be required to reciprocate and honor tickets from other airlines. If Delta cancelled ten flights out of Atlanta to Mia , ord , lax , phx and stranded hundreads of passengers meanwhile on the same day some American flights to those destinations went out with 28 empty seats which otherwise could have been occupied by passengers with tickets on other airlines.

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      “Same can be said for other government positions in this failed administration.”

      LOLOLOLOLOLZ!!!!!!1!!

    2. UA-NYC Guest

      Biden has gotten more done in the past month than your past corrupt joke of a POTUS did in four pathetic years

    3. FlyerDon Guest

      You’re right, this should have happened a long time ago, like during the Trump Administration.

    4. Eskimo Guest

      Biden did so much.
      He supported war against Russia.
      Now he's about to support war against China.
      Best of all, he returned Afghanistan to the Taliban in weeks.

      All Trump did was golfing and grabbing em by p***y.

      It's a failed institution for the last few prez.
      Until the 2 parties have less influence, we're stuck with the luck of the draw. Even the next prez could possibly be a joke.

  2. Jill Guest

    Wait is Allegiant Air the only airline you haven’t flown on?

  3. Ben H Guest

    What is the definition of a "significant delay"?

  4. Steve from LA Member

    I can just see it now-

    Me: "But the DOT chart says I am entitled to accommodations and meals because of the cancellation."

    Airline employee: "You and your Uncle Pete can take that chart and shove it where the sun doesn't shine! NO SOUP FOR YOU!"

  5. JW Guest

    Now the same to hotels as well, they deserve the same amount of shame as the airlines, especially Hilton and Marriott properties.

  6. Stuart Guest

    Love this. Pete is sending another shot across the bow of airlines. There is nothing radically different here, or even ground breaking. But it clearly sends yet another message in that they need to get their act together or more will be coming.

  7. Brian Guest

    Granted Allegiant sucks, but is what the DOT said correct. This is from Allegiant's plan:

    "If a flight is delayed or cancelled for a reason within Allegiant’s control, Allegiant will rebook a Customer on the next available Allegiant flight, or the next available flight on an Allegiant airline partner, at no additional cost to the Customer."

    Isn't that the first line in each chart?

    1. Stuart Guest

      Which airline is an Allegiant partner? Greyhound?

  8. joltedjots New Member

    "If you’re worried you’ll get confused about the policies, I recommend just flying Allegiant. The carrier gives passengers the middle finger on all fronts. "

    Well said :D

  9. JS Guest

    Baby steps, baby steps.
    Best regards,
    EU Citizen

  10. Never In Doubt Guest

    It's not nothing, but it's in the neighborhood of nothing.

    1. Miles Ahead Guest

      Nope, it's not "nothing"; it's "nifty"!

    2. D3kingg Guest

      Pointing the finger at airlines and holding others accountable is not policy making or fixing the problem.

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JS Guest

Baby steps, baby steps. Best regards, EU Citizen

3
TravelinWilly Diamond

“Same can be said for other government positions in this failed administration.” LOLOLOLOLOLZ!!!!!!1!!

1
Steve from LA Member

I can just see it now- Me: "But the DOT chart says I am entitled to accommodations and meals because of the cancellation." Airline employee: "You and your Uncle Pete can take that chart and shove it where the sun doesn't shine! NO SOUP FOR YOU!"

1
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