American airlines have experienced major disruptions in recent weeks, with delays and cancellations.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the US could take enforcement action against the airlines.
His remarks came after dozens of Delta passengers were stranded at Atlanta airport for more than a day.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is weighing the potential consequences for the airline as thousands of flight delays and cancellations leave Americans frustrated or stranded across the US.
Buttigieg said in an interview with The Associated Press on Saturday, “It’s happening to a lot of people, and that’s why we’re here to pay close attention to what can be done and how to make sure that Airlines are making deliveries.”
The transportation secretary experienced disruption for the first time on Friday when her flight from Washington to New York was canceled and she had to drive instead.
Buttigieg told the Associated Press that pending airlines’ performances on the Fourth of July, the Department of Transportation could choose to take enforcement action if consumer-protection standards are not met. The outlet reported that such action could include fines, but this type of fine has historically been small, citing the $2 million fine issued in 2021 to Air Canada for slow refunds.
Buttigieg’s remarks came two days after he pressed on with the airline’s CEO over recent disruptions and urged him to find ways to stick to a summer flight schedule, especially before July 4. The virtual meeting came after more than 2,500 flights were canceled in the US. On Memorial Day weekend in May.
The warning for airlines came even as dozens of Delta passengers were stranded at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for more than 24 hours as more than 6,000 flights were delayed or canceled between Friday and Saturday.
A Delta spokeswoman told Insider’s Bethany Biron on Saturday that their operations were affected by factors that include “challenges with air traffic control, weather and unscheduled absences at some work groups.” Delta has been hit particularly hard with disruptions due to the cancellation of more flights on Memorial Day than any other airline.
The Department of Transportation and Delta did not immediately respond to insider requests for comment on the secretary’s recent comments.
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