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Published: October 2020

The Department of Transportation fails to address consumers’ pandemic concerns

In a letter sent to Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao, consumer groups expressed their deep frustration that the Department’s Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee is ignoring the most pressing airline passenger complaints and concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter notes that many Americans are concerned about the risk of contracting the coronavirus while flying, and that a record 50,000 consumers filed complaints with the DOT about the airlines’ refusal to provide refunds for canceled flights during the crisis. Neither topic was addressed at the most recent Committee meeting, which was only the second such meeting since the Committee was reconstituted in the fall of 2018.

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Aviation Advisory Committee continues to disappoint consumers. During its most recent meeting, committee members either ignored concerns previously raised by consumer groups, or maintained that the marketplace had already adequately addressed passenger complaints. No one from the committee is advocating on behalf of consumers during one of the most stressful and hectic travel periods in history. The focus, instead, has been on the profitability of the airline industry, and on letting market forces determine consumer protections.

Lead Organization

U.S. PIRG

Other Organizations

Consumer Reports | Business Travel Coalition | Consumer Action | Consumer Federation of America | EdOnTravel.com | FlyersRights.org | National Consumers League | Travelers United | Travel Fairness Now | U.S. PIRG

More Information

Click here to read the coalition letter in full.

For more information, please visit U.S. PIRG.

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