US airlines pledge to provide meals and hotel accommodations for extended delays they caused

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Passengers use self-check-in kiosks as they travel from John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., July 2, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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WASHINGTON, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Major U.S. airlines have told the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) they will provide meals for customers delayed three hours and hotel rooms for stranded passengers if problems come under control. airlines encouraged them.

American Airlines (AAL.O), United Airlines (UAL.O), Southwest Airlines (LUV.N), Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), JetBlue Airways (JBLU.O) and other commitments detailed in the plans of customer service they updated this week at the request of USDOT. Many airlines have already offered vouchers or hotel rooms for the delays they have caused, but have not spelled out their commitments in customer service plans.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Aug. 19 that he would release by Friday, ahead of the busy Labor Day holiday weekend, an “interactive dashboard” allowing air travelers to compare services provided by every major US airline when the cancellation or delay was due to circumstances within the airline’s control. Buttigieg had written to airline chief executives asking them “at a minimum” to provide meal vouchers for delays of three hours or more and accommodation for those who have to wait overnight due to disruptions under the carrier’s control.

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Buttigieg also warned that the USDOT is “considering options” to draft new rules “that would further expand airline passenger rights.”

In the past, some airline customers had to know how to request vouchers or hotels from the airlines.

Some airlines have said in updated customer service plans that if they cannot find a hotel room, they will provide a voucher or refund stranded passengers if they find a room themselves at a reasonable price and reimburse the transport.

Southwest Airlines said if meal vouchers are unavailable for a three-hour airport delay under its control, they will honor reasonable requests for refunds.

JetBlue will provide $12 meal vouchers and United Airlines will provide meal vouchers for the “reasonable cost of a meal at airport food vendors. If you don’t automatically get one, just ask us “for the three-hour delays under their control.

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Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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