Department of Transportation puts pressure on airlines amid delays, complaints
The United States government is increasing pressure on airlines and is said to be investigating nearly two dozen companies over refunds.
Customer complaints have nearly tripled against airlines compared to pre-pandemic. And now the White House is trying to show that it is working to protect passengers.
News 12 New Jersey caught up with the Mott family at Newark Liberty International Airport. They were fresh off a trip to Disney and had been waiting for more than three hours for lost luggage.
“Someone took my daughter’s bag accidentally. Went to her house, opened the bag and realized it wasn’t hers,” says Ginnette Mott.
Bad luck, but other parts of the trip also proved the system may be broken.
“They had my nephew in an emergency exit, so they had to switch him,” says Mott.
The nephew is only 10 years old. It was part of the family’s last-minute scramble to sit near each other.
“We got three of us, but we couldn’t get him,” she says.
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The Department of Transportation is urging airlines to allow families with young children to sit together at no extra cost. The DOT also rolled out a so-called Bill of Rights for disabled passengers.
But the federal government says that the main complaint is refunds. It is investigating 20 airlines.
“When I got to the airport, I take a deep breath and I realize that things are either going to go great or they’re going to be terrible,” says Susan Buchner, owner of Adventures Taken travel agency.
She says even travel agents are struggling to keep up with people who are looking to get away. There are times when she says she must help clients navigate airport problems as airlines offer more flights than they can handle.
“You have to be able to take it a little bit on the chin and realize sometimes people are frustrated,” Buchner says.
Newark resident Terrell Wilson has been taking it on the chin for nearly two weeks – which is how long his luggage has been missing since he flew with Spirit Airlines.
“First they said they left my luggage in Fort Lauderdale, then they said my luggage was in LAX. Yesterday they told me my luggage never left Newark airport and to go to Newark airport to get your luggage,” Wilson says.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says that more people are driving to the airport, so parking is limited. Parking prices are going up on Friday, so travelers are urged to pre-book parking ahead of time.