U.S. transport chief says he’ll be watching airline performance over July 4 weekend

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg testifies before a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on President Biden’s proposed budget request for the Department of Transportation, on Capitol Hill in Washington, United States, May 3, 2022. REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy

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WASHINGTON, June 29 (Reuters) – U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Wednesday he would pay close attention to airline performance over the July 4 weekend after a large number of flight cancellations in the over the last holiday weekend.

Airlines have canceled more than 2,700 flights over the Memorial Day holiday, a harbinger of a tough summer for travelers amid record demand and a shortage of airline workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

Buttigieg, speaking at an airline industry meeting, urged airlines to ensure timetables were realistic and that they had enough customer service staff to handle the inevitable problems. “You have to be prepared to support the tickets you sell,” he said.

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Buttigieg said the airlines told him they were working to resolve the issues.

“We will use every authority at our disposal to ensure the customer has a good experience. Our hope is before resorting to measures like this, the issue can be resolved up front,” Buttigieg added in comments. comments in front of the Aero Club in Washington DC

Airline complaints were on the rise even before Memorial Day weekend. The Department for Transportation said in mid-June it had received 5,079 air service complaints in April, up more than 320% from the 1,205 complaints it received in April 2019. read more

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Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Leslie Adler

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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