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Tue, Jun 21, 2022

Buttigieg Threatens Federal Action Against Airlines

The Way of the Cudgel

The federal government could take action against U.S. airlines on behalf of customers, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Saturday.

After months of indifference to mounting public outcry over cancelled flights and slow refunds, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg—the day after his own flight from Washington D.C. to New York was cancelled—threatened federal action against U.S. airlines on behalf of customers.

Buttigieg—a former Democratic presidential candidate who apocryphally claims U.S. transportation infrastructure is rife with ingrained racism—said his department has the authority to enforce action against airlines that do not sufficiently maintain consumer-protection standards, potentially requiring them to hire more staff.

Air travel has recovered faster than expected from pandemic lows, leaving airlines scrambling to hire pilots and other workers to replace employees they shortsightedly prevailed upon to quit in the early days of the COVID debacle.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Buttigieg adroitly articulated, “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 states he is pushing airlines to stress-test their summer schedules for purpose of ensuring planned flights can be operated at current staffing levels.

The move—ironically—could pressure airlines to make additional cuts in their summer schedules.

During a virtual meeting with Buttigieg, airline executives described steps they’re taking to avoid a repeat of the Memorial Day weekend, during which approximately 2,800 flights were canceled.

“Now we’re going to see how those steps measure up,” said Buttigieg—whose tenor belies the stone-cold fact that staffing inadequacies at the Federal Aviation Administration—part of Buttigieg’s department—have contributed significantly to flight delays.

Prior to acting on its boss’s threat of federal brow-beating, Buttigieg‘s D.O.T. will evaluate flight disruptions over the July Fourth holiday weekend and the remainder of the summer.

FMI: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/dunning-kruger-effect, www.transportation.gov, www.a4a.org

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