The air travel system is ‘very fragile,’ says Transportation Secretary Buttigieg

(CNN) — Summer vacations are notoriously difficult, and this past weekend was no different.

Thursday was the best day for cancellations since mid-June, with 1,613 US flights canceled, according to data from airline FlightAware. And cancellations were recorded over the weekend.

Travel Secretary Pete Buttigieg is not happy with the continued air travel crisis and is calling on travelers to share their experiences.

Although Buttigieg acknowledged that this weekend’s bad weather affected air travel, “it didn’t have to have the kind of ripple effects through the system that it did.

“It’s a sign to me that we haven’t seen the improvements that we need, that the system is very fragile,” Buttigieg said Wednesday on CNN’s New Day.

He said the “human factor” is the biggest factor in air travel.

“There are not enough crew, especially pilots, to do the job. And the airlines, of course, have a right to serve the tickets they sell,” said Buttigieg.

Buttigieg met with airlines before July 4, calling for more honest policies, more pilot training and better customer service. He said the meeting also discussed how the Federal Aviation Administration can help alleviate the problems.
The Department of Transportation last week asked for more protections for travelers seeking repatriation, and the Secretary invited the public to consider the rule and file complaints if not answered. the planes.
The proposed rule clearly defines the cases where flights are significantly changed or canceled to provide a more flexible way of recovery while establishing consumer protection more about the disease.

‘A good start’

The announcement of the proposed rule on had more than 400 comments by Wednesday morning.

Another spokesperson, Natalia Villegas, agreed that consumer protections are needed.

“The current ruling on when customers get paid is so obvious that it’s almost impossible for the customer to see any kind of payment,” Villegas wrote, noting fighting a year-long battle to get an airline refund.

One commentator says it’s a “good start” but “doesn’t go far.” That reporter, Carol Poindexter, wants to see compensation for delayed flights.

Buttigieg told CNN that his biggest concern was the cancellation, noting that his own flight was canceled on Friday.

Buttigieg acknowledged public anger with airlines that received federal bailouts during the pandemic.

“I think a lot of drivers don’t understand what it means to have more than $50 billion in keeping these companies in business, and then when the demand comes back… they’re not ready meet or serve that requirement.”

He said that while hiring has rebounded in most areas, airlines are short on pilots, due to early layoffs. The recent wage increases instituted by some regional carriers will help recruit and retain more pilots, he said.

But the pilot’s failure will take some time to fix, an analyst told CNN.

“A lot of pilots have retired. It’s not easy to replace them,” said Jim Corridore, senior information officer for research firm Similarweb. “It’s a long process, it will take a year or more for the airlines to have a full schedule that addresses this level of demand.”

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