The Biden administration is proposing a new regulation requiring airlines to compensate passengers for "controllable airline cancellations" and delays, CNN reports. The new rule details that along with compensating for the cost of the ticket, airlines must also compensate for other expenses incurred, including hotel stays, meals, and the cost of rebooking for another flight.
"When an airline causes a flight cancellation or delay, passengers should not foot the bill," said Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. President Biden and Buttigieg will be holding a White House event on Monday announcing the new rule proposal along with an Airline Customer Service Dashboard at FlightRights.gov which would show the airlines that "offer cash compensation, provide travel credits or vouchers, or award frequent flyer miles and cover the costs for other amenities," according to an administration official.
The idea comes following Southwest Airlines' winter flight cancellation debacle, which left thousands of passengers stranded around the country. Nearly 17,000 flights were canceled and the airline is under investigation to determine whether it scheduled more flights than it could handle, according to The Associated Press. "This rule would, for the first time in US history, propose to require airlines to compensate passengers," Buttigieg remarked.
However, some like the industry trade group Airlines for America argue that many times cancellations are out of the airline's control, writes The Wall Street Journal. "U.S. airlines have no incentive to delay or cancel a flight and do everything in their control to ensure flights depart and arrive on time," it said. "But safety is always the top priority."