As the holiday travel season approaches with an expected 131 million Americans planning to fly, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg emphasizes the importance of passenger awareness about expanded rights and protections. In a recent interview with Travel + Leisure, Secretary Buttigieg stated, “If you do have a problem after the fact, you can use that website [FlightRights.gov] to reach out to us with a complaint. We hope it doesn’t come to that, but we have helped passengers get $2 billion in refunds and counting. So if you do need our help, we are here to have your back.”
To address the surge in holiday travel, the Department of Transportation advises travelers to plan extra time and exercise extra caution on roadways, particularly during the busiest travel days between December 21 and December 23. Secretary Buttigieg stresses the importance of safety over speed, stating, “Remember that the most important thing isn’t to get there first; it’s to get there safely.”
For travelers seeking assistance, FlightRights.gov offers a dashboard guide displaying each airline’s policies, including delay and cancellation policies, as well as family seating arrangements. Secretary Buttigieg reassures travelers that efforts will be made to ensure a safe and efficient travel season, urging airlines to do the same.
This initiative follows Southwest Airlines’ holiday “meltdown” last year, during which thousands of flights were canceled, leaving passengers stranded. Southwest’s CEO expressed confidence in the airline’s preparedness for the upcoming record-breaking year for holiday travel, emphasizing that the previous incident does not define Southwest Airlines.