“Now we need them to deliver,” says Sec. Buttigieg as flight cancellations increase
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The hundreds of flight cancellations across the country as we head toward a busy holiday travel weekend is an issue that’s catching the attention from top government officials.
Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said it is time for the airline industry to deliver.
Buttigieg said, “passengers have high expectations from an industry that we have supported with tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer funding through the pandemic to keep it up and running so that it can serve passengers. Now we need them to deliver.”
Concerned about flight cancellation trends, Secretary Buttigieg said he has spoken directly with airlines.
He said, “Something I’ve asked them to do so that if you’re selling a ticket, you know you can back that up, that you have the staffing to do it.”
Rebecca Spicer, Senior Vice President with Airlines For America, a group that represents some of the largest U.S. airlines, said, “we do know that there are some challenges and airlines are working day-in and day-out to get things right. That’s why they are proactively making changes to their own schedules. They are taking flights off the schedule to create a little bit more wiggle room in the schedule and a little bit more flexibility.”
Spicer also said she can’t predict how many more flights could be canceled during the holiday weekend. She did say, however, that the industry is aggressively hiring new people.
Spicer said, “once we get people on board, it takes time to train them and make sure that they are fully on board it and ready to go. So hiring in the airline industry isn’t like just flipping a switch. It does take time.”
A tip Spicer shared if you are taking to the skies -- download your airlines’s app as soon as you buy a ticket. She said that is the most effective and efficient way for an airline to notify you about changes.
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