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Flight delays and cancellations addressed by Attorney General

Attorney General Letitia James urges the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to take action to address widespread airline cancellations and delays

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Due to recent havoc created by airlines canceling flights and adjusting times the New York Attorney General has called on the Federal Aviation Administration to prevent those companies from selling tickets for flights they cannot provide on time to customers.

These recent cancellations have caused millions of disruptions in travel plans for consumers nationwide, and the office of the Attorney General has been receiving numerous complaints on a daily basis regarding these issues. 

“Airlines knowingly advertising and booking flights they do not have the adequate staff to operate are flying in the face of the law,”  Attorney General Letitia James said. 

“Travelers are forced to miss important events, pay more, or change their entire travel plan because airlines are failing at their most basic function. The skyrocketing number of flight cancellations and delays in airports across the country is unacceptable and travelers have endured too much confusion and frustration. I urge the U.S. Department of Transportation to increase its oversight and regulation of airlines that are skirting the rules and causing disruptions for travelers.” 

Many New York consumers have suffered cancellations from various airlines, including passengers who were offered rescheduled flights as late as five days after their canceled flights.

One of the complaints the Attorney General's office received was from a couple whose flight was canceled and the airline left them with no choice but to drive from Buffalo to Newark in order to make their connecting international flight.

According to the Attorney General's office, during the first half of 2022, 2.8% of flights were canceled, which is a 33% increase from the first half of the year in 2019. 

New York City area airports have had the highest summer cancellation rates in the country, two of the airports made the top two spots. Newark Liberty International ranked first in cancellations, LaGuardia ranked second, while JFK International ranking ninth, according to the Attorney General's office. 

These issues appear to stem from airlines advertising and booking flights they do not have the personnel to operate, according to a letter from James.  

In the letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, James calls on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to put in place measures to prevent airlines from harming customers. 

In her letter, James provides the following recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA):

  • Advertise and sell only as many flights as they have adequate personnel to fly and support,
  • Provide full or partial refunds when flights are canceled or rescheduled, and,
  • Provide passengers additional payments to compensate them for the additional costs they incur when dealing with flight delays and cancellations, including payments for hotel stays, taxi fares, car rentals, and gasoline.

Individuals who have experienced flight issues, and may be eligible for a refund should visit the refunds site.

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