Buttigieg: U.S. may act against airlines on consumers’ behalf...

The Tradition

HR King
Apr 23, 2002
109,983
82,670
113
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 security 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.


How would fines help the consumers (or the airlines for that matter)? And who fines the TSA if they're short-staffed?
 

BioHawk

HR Legend
Sep 21, 2005
38,537
39,096
113
At this point, I don't know how airlines can expect to stay in business. Why would I spend $2k to fly my family somewhere with a significant chance my flight will be canceled and I will lose vacation time trying to get to my destination. This is on top of what already is a miserable customer experience.

If this continues for much longer airlines are going to have to reduce the number of flights so they can guarantee they have the staff to fly them. This will make getting a flight harder and more expensive. Eventually people will find other ways to get where they want to go if they can't trust that the flight they paid for will actually happen.
 

mthawkeyes

HR Heisman
Mar 22, 2007
6,880
11,459
113
Fourmile Creek
At this point, I don't know how airlines can expect to stay in business. Why would I spend $2k to fly my family somewhere with a significant chance my flight will be canceled and I will lose vacation time trying to get to my destination. This is on top of what already is a miserable customer experience.

If this continues for much longer airlines are going to have to reduce the number of flights so they can guarantee they have the staff to fly them. This will make getting a flight harder and more expensive. Eventually people will find other ways to get where they want to go if they can't trust that the flight they paid for will actually happen.
This. I know the ticket I purchase doesn't explicitly state this, but when I am paying for a flight, what I'm buying isn't the joy of flight, it's TIME. When flights are delayed, rescheduled, and cancelled, they are screwing people out of the thing that they are paying for.
 

goldmom

HR Legend
Mar 29, 2002
18,907
22,064
113
The staff shortages are concerning and on one hand it’s frustrating yet safety just has to be paramount.
It makes you want to say the heck with it and drive...
Oh wait...😳🤬
 
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goldmom

HR Legend
Mar 29, 2002
18,907
22,064
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I agree that the American railroad system should be far more robust.

Are y’all aware that 17 years after Hurricane Katrina it’s still not possible to go from Jacksonville (or anywhere in Florida) to New Orleans by rail? That’s crazy.
 
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bhawk24bob

HR Legend
Jul 8, 2001
17,203
4,791
113
Maybe the Biden administration shouldn't have put that stupid mask policy in place that brought the crazy out in some people and made working for an airline a miserable experience.

And now, when airlines are struggling to get anybody to work for them, the Biden administration wants to know why
 

BioHawk

HR Legend
Sep 21, 2005
38,537
39,096
113
I agree that the American railroad system should be far more robust.

Are y’all aware that 17 years after Hurricane Katrina it’s still not possible to go from Jacksonville (or anywhere in Florida) to New Orleans by rail? That’s crazy.
Well, it is, you just have to go through Washington D.C. first. And I guess Chicago if you want to go from Jacksonville to New Orleans. I would be using the train in a heartbeat to get to Florida if that option was actually viable, but it shouldn't take a 48 hour rail trip to do it.
 

BioHawk

HR Legend
Sep 21, 2005
38,537
39,096
113
Maybe the Biden administration shouldn't have put that stupid mask policy in place that brought the crazy out in some people and made working for an airline a miserable experience.

And now, when airlines are struggling to get anybody to work for them, the Biden administration wants to know why
And yet, this doesn't seem to be a problem in every other country that still mandates masks on planes.
 

BioHawk

HR Legend
Sep 21, 2005
38,537
39,096
113
That has no relevance
Sure it does. If, as you say, mask mandates are responsible for the flight issues, then we would be seeing these same issues in other countries. And maybe we are, I don't know for sure, but I certainly haven't heard anything about it.

Or, maybe it's just a large number of Americans are too pathetic and weak to wear a piece of cloth over their face and get a prick in the arm.
 

SalAunese

HR Legend
Gold Member
Jul 11, 2002
41,825
13,976
113
Minnesota
Flying in and out of Florida has been a PITA this year. The FAA is absolutely to blame for much of this problem and Buttigieg’s response is emotionally driven by his own personal experience
 
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the24fan

HR All-American
Jul 30, 2007
3,385
3,612
113
49
I work for Delta and can personally tell you it is almost 100% on a pilot shortage.
The Covid thing sped up a lot of retirements for pilots who were nearing the mandatory retirement age , and the replacement process has been slow. Lack of new pilots and the hour requirements needed is hampering the schedule without question . Airlines did not expect such a fast rebound in travel .
A majority of the cancellations are coming from mainline Delta and not the connection side.
You throw this in the mix with some weather issues and you have a perfect storm .
The last part is the long wait for customer service. See point about COVID separation and they haven’t been able to replace staff quick enough to keep up with demand.
Working for a major airline isn’t as appealing anymore with the majority not working under a union. Low wages, especially on the connection side (you would be surprised at the number of flights that are on the connection side anymore )low morale and overworked employees are contributing to this as well.
Not an easy fix for sure . But until staffing levels are fixed you will continue to see stress on the industry .
 

Bobcat07

HR Legend
Aug 31, 2003
29,789
2,533
113
37
Houston, TX
I flew last week on United from Houston to Dallas and Dallas to Houston and surprisingly arrived a few minutes early for both flights. Flying has become such a pain the last few years that you almost think you won the lotto if you aren't delayed anymore.
 

sober_teacher

HR Legend
Mar 26, 2007
12,813
15,554
113
At this point, I don't know how airlines can expect to stay in business. Why would I spend $2k to fly my family somewhere with a significant chance my flight will be canceled and I will lose vacation time trying to get to my destination. This is on top of what already is a miserable customer experience.

If this continues for much longer airlines are going to have to reduce the number of flights so they can guarantee they have the staff to fly them. This will make getting a flight harder and more expensive. Eventually people will find other ways to get where they want to go if they can't trust that the flight they paid for will actually happen.

Honest question. Why are airlines able to list flights if they can’t guarantee they have the personnel for them?
 

Huey Grey

HR Legend
Jan 15, 2013
47,669
67,477
113
TSA guidelines need to be lightened, too. It's ridiculous having to spend an hour in line to be full body scanned and prove you have nothing in your shoes. It's wastes millions of hours a year for something that we have no idea if it even works.
 
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SA_Hawk

HR All-State
Jan 8, 2022
543
840
93
Lincoln, NE
iowa.rivals.com
TSA guidelines need to be lightened, too. It's ridiculous having to spend an hour in line to be full body scanned and prove you have nothing in your shoes. It's wastes millions of hours a year for something that we have no idea if it even works.
When was the last time a plane was hijacked or taken over and flown into a building inside the United States?
 

SA_Hawk

HR All-State
Jan 8, 2022
543
840
93
Lincoln, NE
iowa.rivals.com
TSA guidelines need to be lightened, too. It's ridiculous having to spend an hour in line to be full body scanned and prove you have nothing in your shoes. It's wastes millions of hours a year for something that we have no idea if it even works.
We just gave Afghanistan back to the terrorists, should we also give them the ability to easily get back on planes as well? Not big student of history Huey?
 

State of Illinois

HR All-State
Aug 30, 2018
540
815
93
I agree that the American railroad system should be far more robust.

Are y’all aware that 17 years after Hurricane Katrina it’s still not possible to go from Jacksonville (or anywhere in Florida) to New Orleans by rail? That’s crazy.
You should look into that. Likely it’ll inform you on how fake US “capitalism” often is as it relates to true competition.
 
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hawkcub

HR Legend
Jul 18, 2005
14,236
4,368
113
I agree that the American railroad system should be far more robust.

Are y’all aware that 17 years after Hurricane Katrina it’s still not possible to go from Jacksonville (or anywhere in Florida) to New Orleans by rail? That’s crazy.
I am 2 hours from nearest Amtrack station period.
 

claykenny

HR Legend
Gold Member
Feb 5, 2003
13,280
6,726
113
Colorado
When was the last time a plane was hijacked or taken over and flown into a building inside the United States?

Why do we need TSA when we could just let all the good people take their guns to the airport and on an airplane? They get to exercise their God-given unrestricted Second Amendment rights, the good guys stop all the bad guys, and we save a ton of money.

What kind of terrorist would be dumb enough to try hijacking a plane when there’s a morbidly obese middle-age guy with limited firearms training who has a gun visibly strapped to his belt?
 

Jim Grizzly

HR Legend
Feb 24, 2010
11,930
4,831
113
I'd argue for many the issue is lying cheating whores who can file no fault divorce. Either way, happy made up holiday gents.
 

BlIIlken2

HR All-State
Nov 23, 2021
739
1,749
93
Flying in and out of Florida has been a PITA this year. The FAA is absolutely to blame for much of this problem and Buttigieg’s response is emotionally driven by his own personal experience

I work for Delta and can personally tell you it is almost 100% on a pilot shortage.
The Covid thing sped up a lot of retirements for pilots who were nearing the mandatory retirement age , and the replacement process has been slow. Lack of new pilots and the hour requirements needed is hampering the schedule without question . Airlines did not expect such a fast rebound in travel .
A majority of the cancellations are coming from mainline Delta and not the connection side.
You throw this in the mix with some weather issues and you have a perfect storm .
The last part is the long wait for customer service. See point about COVID separation and they haven’t been able to replace staff quick enough to keep up with demand.
Working for a major airline isn’t as appealing anymore with the majority not working under a union. Low wages, especially on the connection side (you would be surprised at the number of flights that are on the connection side anymore )low morale and overworked employees are contributing to this as well.
Not an easy fix for sure . But until staffing levels are fixed you will continue to see stress on the industry .
I can also personally tell you any airline that has a Florida centric type of operation is absolutely ****ed right now due to short staffing and the ineptitude of Jacksonville center airspace. For those who don’t know almost all airline traffic runs N and S in Florida and Jacksonville center is the only way to get into central and south Florida. They are running constant delays through their airspace even on non weather event days. Throw a couple storms into the situation, every airport south of Florida Georgia line is hosed. The government needs to figure out something else. Open up more east and west routes before making the turn north or south. Weather has always been an issue in Florida yet these delays are unheard of. It’s a nightmare for all. Throw this on top of all the short staffing among labor groups (not just pilots) at the airlines and it’s going to be a miserable experience of delays, cancellations and catch up.

Southwest, Spirit, JetBlue, Fronteir and Allegiant all are getting hit harder because a good majority of their flying is done in and out of Florida. Blame pretty much lies everywhere lol.
 

83Hawk

HR Legend
Sep 17, 2002
20,305
13,891
113
I work for Delta and can personally tell you it is almost 100% on a pilot shortage.
The Covid thing sped up a lot of retirements for pilots who were nearing the mandatory retirement age , and the replacement process has been slow. Lack of new pilots and the hour requirements needed is hampering the schedule without question . Airlines did not expect such a fast rebound in travel .
A majority of the cancellations are coming from mainline Delta and not the connection side.
You throw this in the mix with some weather issues and you have a perfect storm .
The last part is the long wait for customer service. See point about COVID separation and they haven’t been able to replace staff quick enough to keep up with demand.
Working for a major airline isn’t as appealing anymore with the majority not working under a union. Low wages, especially on the connection side (you would be surprised at the number of flights that are on the connection side anymore )low morale and overworked employees are contributing to this as well.
Not an easy fix for sure . But until staffing levels are fixed you will continue to see stress on the industry .
To be fair…….customer service by airlines has been terrible long before Covid.
 
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Huey Grey

HR Legend
Jan 15, 2013
47,669
67,477
113
Huey is for as much government control as possible…..unless it is an inconvenience to HIM.
I don't like false security. As far as I know the TSA has not uncovered any terrorist plots. That's a pretty massive waste of resources after 20 years, imo.
 
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ericram

HR All-American
Nov 5, 2002
3,369
5,605
113
Tallahassee, FL
I agree that the American railroad system should be far more robust.

Are y’all aware that 17 years after Hurricane Katrina it’s still not possible to go from Jacksonville (or anywhere in Florida) to New Orleans by rail? That’s crazy.
It's pathetic really. The amount of money the American taxpayers have spent to rescue the airlines and they treat us like worthless cargo. Now the US does not invest in rail travel. We are so far behind our European and Asian counterparts. Again really pathetic!
 
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