Pete Buttigieg: Feds may act against airlines on consumers’ behalf
Image via AP.

pete buttigieg
Staffing shortages at the FAA have cause Florida flight delays.

The day after Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met with airline leaders to quiz them about widespread flight disruptions, his own flight was canceled and he wound up driving from Washington to New York.

“That is happening to a lot of people, and that is exactly why we are paying close attention here to what can be done and how to make sure that the airlines are delivering,” Buttigieg told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday.

Buttigieg said he is pushing the airlines to stress-test their summer schedules to ensure they can operate all their planned flights with the employees they have, and to add customer-service workers. That could put pressure on airlines to make additional cuts in their summer schedules.

Buttigieg said his department could take enforcement actions against airlines that fail to live up to consumer-protection standards. But first, he said, he wants to see whether there are major flight disruptions over the July Fourth holiday weekend and the rest of the summer.

Enforcement actions can results in fines, although they tend to be small. Air Canada agreed to pay a $2 million fine last year over slow refunds.

During Thursday’s virtual meeting, airline executives described steps they are taking to avoid a repeat of the Memorial Day weekend, when about 2,800 flights were canceled. “Now we’re going to see how those steps measure up,” Buttigieg said.

Travel is back. On Friday, more than 2.4 million people passed through secruity checkpoints at U.S. airports, coming within about 12,500 of breaking the pandemic-era high recorded on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year.

The record surely would have been broken had airlines not canceled 1,400 flights, many of them because thunderstorms hit parts of the East Coast. A day earlier, airlines scrubbed more than 1,700 flights, according to tracking service FlightAware.

Weather is always a wild card when it comes to flying in summer, but airlines have also acknowledged staffing shortages as travel roared back faster than expected from pandemic lows. Airlines are scrambling to hire pilots and other workers to replace employees whom they encouraged to quit after the pandemic hit.

It takes months to hire and train a pilot to meet federal safety standards, but the Transportation Department sees no reason the airlines cannot immediately add customer-service representatives to help passengers rebook if their flight is canceled.

The government has its own staffing challenges.

Shortages at the Federal Aviation Administration, part of Buttigieg’s department, have contributed to flight delays in Florida. The FAA promises to increase staffing there. The Transportation Security Administration, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, has created a roving force of 1,000 screeners who can be dispatched to airports where checkpoint lines get too long.

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Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

Associated Press


9 comments

  • Tom

    June 19, 2022 at 9:02 am

    This clown Pete B. is useless, total figment of leftist media’s fascination. Only person more inept excluding Biden is Harris. Pete B is close with the Canadian Energy Sec Granholm in photo finish. He was a pathetic candidate, no clue as sec of transportation. How hysterical his flight was cancelled.

    You cannot make up this pathetic administration clown show, just saying.

    Biden/Harris/Pete B. You can throw Garland in, using feds against parents in VA, with schools boards. Took days to protect Sup ct.
    Just awful.

    • Impeach Biden

      June 19, 2022 at 9:15 am

      I completely agree with you Tom. Seeing the mayor of South Bend, IN here, I immediately thought of that clueless Energy Secretary Granholm as well. Truly the most inept administration in my lifetime and I’ve been around a while.

      • Tom

        June 19, 2022 at 9:37 am

        Great job Impeach, I appreciate your efforts to help educate the leftist Dem Manchurian nation. Happy Father’s Day if applies.

        Yes, you cannot make this clown show up. The gross incompetence at every level is overwhelming. No baby formula and no availability for personal health products for women. Talk about being anti women, family.

        My analysis is the worst POTUS and administration since Hoover. Science mis believer who professes to be an educator actually took issue with depression beginning under Hoover. By time FDR was elected, sworn in it was March of 33. The ignorance with these Dum Dems is overwhelming.

        Keep up the good work. I replied to Joe H earlier, read if u can. Especially the results coming.

        • Impeach Biden

          June 19, 2022 at 9:47 am

          Happy Father”s day to you as well.😀

  • Impeach Biden

    June 19, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    Now wait just a second here. Mr. green energy telling us to ride bikes, take public transportation, jumps on an airplane for a short flight to NYC from DCA. Complete and total hypocrisy. Just like Obama with his 2500 gallon propane tank he just had installed at his house and that idiot Kerry flying around the world on his private jet telling us all to give up our cars.

  • Impeach trump (that's right, got him twice and he lost the election)

    June 19, 2022 at 5:23 pm

    Quite the little mutual appreciation society you two ladies have going on. Maybe you should head over to grindr and see what comes of it.

    • Impeach Biden

      June 19, 2022 at 7:31 pm

      I don’t like the use of the pronoun you used. Why do you assume I am of the female gender. OMG you are sexist. Ha! Ha! Joe Biden still sux.

  • Tom

    June 19, 2022 at 8:30 pm

    LOL, you loser fake moniker.
    We are celebrating your demented POTUS and his incompetent crew.

    He’s brought us within a 1/2 step to nuclear war, blown up our economy with coming depression and constant civil unrest with crime everywhere, with no prosecution with blue state, Soros prosecutors. Hell of a job in 18 months.

    As for you, like the rest of your Manchurian nation, you don’t have a clue, original thought and understanding of any issue. Manchurian nation is so ignorant, it is pathetic.

    You are getting a drubbing in Nov, 20 to 50 new GOP House seats. 4 to 8 GOP Senate. Enjoy!
    LMAO.

  • NAncy

    June 20, 2022 at 6:26 pm

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Comments are closed.


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