Primo sulla CNN: Elizabeth Warren demands airline crackdown amid travel chaos

Air travel is a mess right now and Sen. Elizabeth Warren is demanding that federal regulators do something about it.

In a letter obtained first by CNN, the Massachusetts Democrat, along with California Democratic Sen. Alex padilla, urges Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to use his vast powers to protect consumers by cracking down on the airline industry. The lawmakers want the Transportation Department to “aggressivamente” use its authority to hold airlines accountable for surging prices, mounting cancellations and growing delays.
And they not-so-subtly point out that the recent travel chaos comes barely two years after Uncle Sam bailed out the airline industry durante Covid-19 crisi.
    After receiving tens of billions of dollars in assistance from American taxpayers,” Warren and Padilla wrote in the letter sent Monday evening, “major airlines have reciprocated by dramatically increasing ticket prices and reaching new lows in their treatment of travelers.
      Airlines have blamed a surge of flight cancellations on staff shortages — Compreso a shortage of pilots — nell'industria. Travel has also been hampered by bad weather, con più di 1,300 flights canceled on Monday alone as East Coast storms disrupted the aviation system, according to FlightAware.
        Warren and Padilla urged the Transportation Department to hold airlines accountable for canceling flights, “whether due to their own poor operations and staffing practices or through intentional schemes to offer flights they know they can’t staff in order to later cancel the least-profitable flights.They note that 41% of flights are delayed for reasons within airlinescontrol and called on the agency to issue a rule that imposes fines on airlines for the delays they cause.
        Consistently delaying flights for reasons within an airline’s control is an unfair and deceptive practice,” the joint letter states.
          In una dichiarazione, a Transportation spokesperson said the department will continue to pressure airlines over consumer protections.
          The Department expects that when Americans buy an airline ticket, they’ll get to where they need to go safely, affordably and reliably,” ha detto il portavoce.
          Airlines for America, an industry trade group, cited conditions experienced by the Covid-19 pandemic and said the industry is struggling at a time when travelers are returning to flyingat unexpectedly rapid rates.
          The lawmakers took particular issue with intentional rebookings where airlines purposely oversell flights, calling for the Transportation Department to end the practice by forcing airlines to pay ahefty finein addition to compensating passengers.
          When this gamble fails, it should be airlinesnot consumersthat pay the price,” Warren and Padilla write.
          The Transportation Department, they note, is empowered to act as aconsumer protection watchdog,” citing federal law that allows the agency to investigate unfair or deceptive practices and issue fines of up to $ 37,377 per violazione.
          Beyond penalizing airlines for flight cancellations, Warren and Padilla want regulators to stop the decades-long consolidation of the airline industry.
          They urge the Transportation Department touse its full statutory authority more vigorouslyto haltexcessive consolidation,” which they blame for “coerente” price hikes on consumers.
            In the latest example of the shrinking number of airlines in America, operatore economico Spirit Airlines is in the center of a bidding war, fielding buyout offers from rivals JetBlue and Frontier Airlines.
            Decades of deregulation and consolidation have created an airline industry that routinely heaps inconvenience and abuse on consumers,” the lawmakers write.

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