USDOT Announces “Support Our Troops” Dashboard to Improve Air Travel for Military Service Members and Their Families


Allegiant, Frontier, and Spirit took steps to reinforce their journey advantages for service members 

WASHINGTON – In the present day, the U.S. Division of Transportation introduced a brand new “Assist Our Troops” dashboard to assist U.S. army service members and their rapid relations extra simply entry journey advantages supplied by the ten largest U.S. airways. The dashboard clearly shows every airways’ commitments to service members and their rapid household as mirrored of their Buyer Service Plan at flightrights.gov/military, together with advantages akin to free carry-on and checked baggage and offering refunds with out further charges when their flight plans change as a result of a army order or directive. 

 “As somebody who usually flew on army orders as an officer within the U.S. Navy Reserve, I do know the distinctive pressures our service members and their households can face when touring,” stated U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Service members and their households make extraordinary commitments and sacrifices for this nation, and so they deserve help and recognition every time they fly.” 

Following Secretary Buttigieg’s call-to-action to airways to enhance army journey advantages, Spirit Airways, Allegiant Air, and Frontier Airways stepped up their current commitments of their Buyer Service Plan for service members and their households. Alaska Airways, American Airways, Delta Air Strains, Hawaiian Airways, JetBlue Airways, and United Airways declined to clarify and enforceable commitments to U.S. service members and their households. Southwest Airways has acquired two inexperienced checkmarks on the dashboard due to its current baggage and alter charge insurance policies that apply to all passengers.  In making determinations on which commitments are mirrored on the dashboard, DOT’s Workplace of Aviation Client Safety consulted with the U.S. Division of Protection (DOD) and highlighted these commitments that the Division believes are most significant to service members and their households.  

"Commitments for current Service Members and Families Dashboard"

The “Assist Our Troops” dashboard highlights advantages that make air journey simpler for U.S. service members and their rapid relations when participating in private journey. DOT’s dashboard offers a inexperienced checkmark to an airline for every profit that the airline commits to offer:

  • Waives cancellation charges and ensures full refunds for service members and accompanying relations who cancel journey plans as a result of a army order or directive (documentation could also be required).
     
  • Waives change charges for service members and accompanying relations who reschedule flights as a result of a army order or directive (documentation could also be required).
     
  • A minimum of one free normal carry-on and at the least two free normal checked baggage for service members and their accompanying partner and kids with acceptable identification akin to a sound army ID.
     
  • The bottom fare for a flight for rapid relations to go to service members just lately injured within the line of obligation with supporting documentation.

DOT defines “service member” for the aim of the “Assist Our Troops” dashboard as present members of the army who’re serving or could also be referred to as to serve. This definition was developed with enter from DOD. At a minimal, these members embrace:

  • U.S. Military, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Pressure, U.S. Marines, U.S. House Pressure, U.S. Coast Guard, Nationwide Guard, and U.S. Army Reserves with a present legitimate army ID; 
  • Cadets of the Air Pressure Academy, West Level, Naval Academy, Coast Guard Academy, and Service provider Marine Academy with a present legitimate army ID; and 
  • Commissioned Corps and Prepared Reserve Corps of the U.S. Public Well being Service and Commissioned Officers Corps of the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Officer Corps with present legitimate army ID.  

Airways could supply further advantages to service members and their households. For his or her advantages to be mirrored on the dashboard, nevertheless, airways are required to expressly present them to all service members as outlined by DOT and make these commitments of their Buyer Service Plan or make them simply accessible from their Buyer Service Plan. To the extent an airline’s army advantages fall wanting these necessities, the Division could not be capable of maintain the airline accountable for failing to honor its commitments. Members of the army are inspired to verify the airline’s web site or contact the airline’s customer support brokers for extra data.

DOT’s Historic File of Client Safety Beneath the Biden-Harris Administration
Beneath the Biden-Harris Administration, DOT has superior the biggest enlargement of airline passenger rights, issued the most important fines towards airways for failing shoppers, and returned extra money to passengers in refunds and reimbursements than ever earlier than within the Division’s historical past.

  • Final month, DOT introduced two closing guidelines that require airways to provide automatic cash refunds to passengers when owed and protect consumers from costly surprise airline fees. These guidelines will considerably increase client protections in air journey, present passengers a better pathway to refunds when owed, and save shoppers greater than half a billion {dollars} yearly in hidden and shock junk charges. Provisions of the ultimate rule on airline refund had been fortified by way of the FAA reauthorization invoice that President Biden signed into legislation on Could 16, 2024.
     
  • In 2022, underneath Secretary Buttigieg’s steering, DOT created an Airline Customer Service Dashboard generally known as FlightRights.gov to assist airline passengers perceive what they’re entitled to obtain sure providers and facilities when a big delay or cancellation was throughout the airways’ management and create enforceable requirements. Now all 10 main U.S. airways assure free rebooking and meals, and 9 assure lodge lodging when an airline problem causes a big delay or cancellation. These are new commitments the airways added to their Buyer Service Plans that DOT can legally guarantee they adhere to and are displayed on flightrights.gov.
     
  • Since President Biden took workplace, DOT has helped return nearly $4 billion in refunds and reimbursements owed to airline passengers – together with greater than $600 million refunds and reimbursements to passengers affected by the Southwest Airways vacation meltdown in 2022.
     
  • DOT has issued over $164 million in penalties towards airways for client safety violations. Between 1996 and 2020, DOT collectively issued lower than $71 million in penalties towards airways for client safety violations.
     
  •  DOT just lately launched a brand new partnership with a bipartisan group of state attorneys normal to fast-track the evaluate of client complaints, maintain airways accountable, and defend the rights of the touring public.
     
  •  In 2023, the flight cancellation fee within the U.S. was a record low at underneath 1.2% – the bottom fee of flight cancellations in over 10 years regardless of a file quantity of air journey.
     
  •  DOT is enterprise its first ever industry-wide evaluate of airline privacy practices and its first evaluate of airline loyalty applications. 

Along with finalizing the foundations to require automated refunds and defend shoppers from shock charges, DOT can be pursuing rulemakings that will:  

  • Suggest to ban household seating junk charges and assure that oldsters can sit with their youngsters for no additional cost after they fly. Earlier than President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg pressed airways final yr, no airline dedicated to guaranteeing fee-free household seating. Now, 4 airways assure fee-free household seating, because the Division is engaged on its household seating junk charge ban proposal.
     
  • Suggest to make passenger compensation and facilities necessary in order that vacationers are taken care of when airways trigger flight delays or cancellations.
     
  • Develop the rights for passengers who use wheelchairs and be certain that they will journey safely and with dignity.

DOT’s aviation consumer protection website makes it straightforward for vacationers to grasp their rights. Customers could file an airline criticism with the Division here.

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