Biden Pushes Airlines To Reimburse Delayed Flights With Meals, Hotels

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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The Biden administration announced it will create policies mandating airlines to provide additional relief, like compensation for additional costs like meals and hotels, to customers who had their flights delayed.

President Joe Biden delivered remarks Monday alongside Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg. The president noted the frequent airline delays last holiday season and the upcoming increase of travel during Memorial Day and vowed to crack down on additional passenger costs caused by delays. (RELATED: Southwest Airlines Briefly Grounds All Flights Due To ‘Internal Technical Issue’)

Biden said the DOT will be taking two steps in an attempt to force airlines to be more transparent about their pricing and delay policies. The administration launched a government website — FlightRights.gov — dedicated to showing how much each airline reimburses passengers for delays.

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 08: U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg looks on as President Joe Biden speaks at an announcement of new airline regulations in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus on May 08, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The president also promised a new rule “later this year” that will make it “mandatory” for all U.S. airlines to compensate passengers for the cost of meals, hotels, taxis, ride shares and rebooking fees in the event of the airline choosing to cancel or delay a flight.

“I appreciate Secretary Buttigieg’s leadership on this issue. And I hope and expect the Department of Transportation to move as quickly as it can to put this new rule in place. It matters,” Biden said.

“I know these things may not matter to the very wealthy, but they matter most to middle-class families and people struggling to get the cost in the first place of getting that airline,” the president added.

He also touted the number of airlines that listened to his State of the Union request to end additional fees for families who want to sit next to their children.

“Major airlines changed their ways. American Airlines, Alaskan Airlines, and Frontier Airlines — they agreed to address family seating so parents can sit with their children without paying an additional charge. United Airlines also took important steps towards guaranteeing free family seating beyond not — in other words, no cost beyond the cost of the — the original cost of the ticket,” Biden added.

Airlines For America, which represents the industry’s largest carriers, issued a statement in response to the proposed rule changes, the AP reported. The organization noted that its members are taking steps to improve “operational reliability” and avoid delays, adding that there are no incentives for the airlines to cancel flights.