ICYMI: President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg to Propose Rulemaking That Would Require Airlines to Compensate Passengers and Cover Expenses for Delayed or Canceled Flights

4 min readMay 10, 2023

Washington, DC — On Monday, President Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced plans to initiate a new rulemaking to strengthen protections for air travelers when an airline cancels or significantly delays their flight. The proposal aims to require airlines to provide compensation and cover expenses for amenities like meals, hotels, and rebooking when the airline is responsible for a flight delay or cancellation. USDOT also expanded its Airline Customer Service Dashboard found at FlightRights.gov — with a new category showing which airlines offer cash compensation, provide travel credits or vouchers, or award frequent flyer miles when they cause flight delays or cancellations. Yesterday’s announced rulemaking would make such passenger compensation and amenities mandatory.

The announcement follows a two-year push from DOT to improve the passenger experience and ensure that airlines treat their customers fairly. Thanks to the Department’s work, today, the ten largest airlines guarantee meals and free rebooking on the same airline and nine guarantee hotel accommodations. This was not the case one year ago. Since 2021, DOT has helped return more than $1 billion in refunds to travelers.

See below for select media coverage of the announcement.

What they’re saying:

Reuters: Biden wants airlines to pay passengers in U.S. for lengthy delays

“Summer travel is going to put enormous pressure on the system,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Monday. “Airlines need to accept their fundamental responsibility to better serve passengers.”

Politico: Biden pushing airlines to go beyond refunds for delayed or canceled flights

“We know how frustrating delays, cancellations and rebookings are,” Biden said during a speech at the White House on Monday. “While flight delays and cancellations have come down since then, there’s still a problem.”

HuffPost: Biden, Buttigieg Announce Crackdown On Airline Delays

“If your flight is very delayed or canceled, and the airline could have prevented that, you deserve more than just the price of your ticket, you deserve to be fully compensated,” Biden said at the White House on Monday afternoon. “Your time matters. The impact on your life matters.”

CBS News: White House pushes tougher rules on passenger compensation for flight delays and cancellations

“We depend on airlines to get us to weddings, vacations and job interviews that often wind up being some of the most important and memorable events in our lives,” Buttigieg said Monday. “And our economy depends on these airlines doing a good job…”

NBC News: Biden admin proposes requiring airlines to compensate travelers for cancellations and delays

“I know how frustrated many of you are with the service you get from your U.S. airlines,” President Joe Biden said in remarks from the White House announcing his administration’s plan. “That’s why our top priority has been to get American air travelers a better deal.”

The Washington Post: Biden proposes airlines cover passenger expenses for canceled flights

“U. S. airlines have no incentive to delay or cancel a flight and do everything in their control to ensure flights depart and arrive on time,” Airlines for America said. “We look forward to working with the Administration to ensure U.S. airspace remains the safest airspace in the world while supporting robust marketplace competition.”

“This action reflects a common sense principle, which is, our time is valuable,” said John Breyault, a vice president at the National Consumers League. “When we lose time because airlines screw up, we should get compensated. That seems to be what the DOT’s proposal reflects.”

NPR: Biden wants airlines to pay passengers whose flights are hit by preventable delays

CNN: Biden administration will propose rule requiring airlines to compensate passengers for canceled or delayed flights

“When an airline causes a flight cancellation or delay, passengers should not foot the bill,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “This rule would, for the first time in US history, propose to require airlines to compensate passengers and cover expenses such as meals, hotels, and rebooking in cases where the airline has caused a cancellation or significant delay.”

USA Today: Biden administration proposing rule changes to compensate passengers for flight delays

Axios: Biden proposes new air travel rules to compensate passengers

The New York Times: Biden Seeks Compensation for Passengers for Flight Delays and Cancellations

Associated Press: US to propose new rules for airline cancellations, delays

The Wall Street Journal: Biden Says Administration Will Propose Airline Rule to Compensate Passengers for Delays, Cancellations

“American air travelers deserve better and that’s what we’re gonna do,” Mr. Biden said

The Hill: White House considering new rules on airlines in event of flight delays and cancellations

ABC News: Biden, Buttigieg push for airlines to compensate passengers for controllable delays, cancelations

Bloomberg: Biden to Seek Rules for Airline Benefits to Stranded Travelers

Roll Call: Biden administration drafting airline passenger protection rules

Vox: The White House may finally get airlines to pay you for hellish delays




The Official Medium Account of the U.S. Department of Transportation