If you’re traveling again, you may have experienced turbulence while trying to rebook a flight. Many travelers tell us that they are frustrated with expired credits and poor customer service.
This is why consumer advocates are urging the federal government to take action against the aviation industry. The I-Team has learned what it requires and what it means to you.
Maybe you are dreaming of a beach vacation. Charles Sanders is. Recently, however, he had to cancel a trip to Maui and postpone it until this fall.
“So I started calling in early May to rebook the flight,” said Sanders.
But the rebooking was not that easy. Sanders said he made repeated calls to the airline but never got through after hours on hold.
“I did this day in and day out for three weeks,” said Sanders. “I must have called her at least 50 times or more. I was put on hold for up to two hours each time. “
Aviation expert Bill McGee is not surprised.
“The airlines are determined to cut costs as much as possible,” said McGee. “And it affects all aspects.”
McGee, who works on behalf of Consumer Reports, calls on the federal government to regulate airlines more closely.
While lousy customer service, as Sanders experienced, is a huge problem, it’s likely one that cannot be addressed. Instead, Consumer Reports is keeping an eye out on helping people like Aileen Wong. Her balance on a flight she canceled during the pandemic expired before she had a chance to use it.
“That’s no reason for them to take the money and not offer anything,” said Wong.
Complaints about refunds have skyrocketed, according to Consumer Reports. It urges the government to require airlines to return your money if they cancel a flight instead of issuing you a credit.
“When you go online and buy a product, any product – a pair of shoes, a box of biscuits, a book – you buy something and it doesn’t get mailed to you because it’s out of stock, what do you do? They’ll give you a refund, ”said McGee. “No company says: ‘We’ll keep your money for a year, two years.'”
And what about the fees airlines charge you to check in your baggage, choose your seat, or change your flight. Consumer Reports also wants to take action against this. She wants airlines to fully disclose all charges before booking a flight. It also wants to eliminate some fees, such as B. Inviting families to sit together.
“You love this source of income,” said McGree. “And even in extraordinary circumstances like the pandemic, they don’t want to let go of it.”
And while Covid is still a security concern, Consumer Reports is pushing the federal government to require airlines to adhere to uniform security protocols. It’s a mish-mash right now, and screening and cleaning procedures vary by provider.
“Make rules that are consistent and protect us all,” said McGee. “And apply to all airlines, all airports, and all passengers.”
All in the hope of making flying a little more passenger-friendly.
“I thought for a while that maybe they would do this so that I would finally give up and lose my money,” said Sanders.
Sanders finally got his flight rescheduled. Consumer Reports shared all of these issues and more with Pete Buttigieg, the new Secretary for the Department of Transportation. Minister Buttigieg met with representatives from Consumer Reports and other consumer protection groups in July to discuss their concerns.
We reached out to Airlines for America, a trading group that represents airlines. It is said that airlines have committed to working with their customers to resolve their situation, and many airlines are updating their policies to include things like the elimination of change fees.