JetBlue, Southwest, and United Wont Leave You Stranded This Labor Day

The U.S. Department of Transportation is expected to launch a new digital dashboard to list the cancellation and delay policies of the major U.S. airlines the Friday before Labor Day.

If you traveled during any of the peak holidays this summer, there’s a good chance your flight was delayed or outright cancelled. 

Demand has surged in 2022, making up for losses during the pandemic years, but airline and staffing issues have forced some airlines to cut capacity through the summer. 

“Demand has outstripped supply, and when you couple that with, say, summer thunderstorms, it creates the domino effect that travelers are currently managing,” Danny Finkel, chief travel officer at TripActions, told TheStreet in the spring.

The problem got so bad that earlier this month the Transportation Department demanded that the airlines come up with a plan to protect their customers.

On August 19, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that the government would launch an “interactive dashboard” for air travelers to compare the services each U.S. airline offers for delays and cancellations by the Friday before Labor Day. 

Now, the day before the dashboard goes live, the major U.S. airlines have started to release public updates of their rules. 

New Rebooking Policies

United Airlines  (UAL) – Get United Airlines Holdings Inc. Report promises to keep passengers updated about rebooking options while guaranteeing travelers get the next flight with available seats in the same cabin originally paid for at no additional cost.

If the delay or cancellation is due to a United issue and there are no flights available until the next day United will book travelers a flight on a partner airline if there are seats available, but only if they request that service. 

Passengers will get a digital or printed meal voucher for cancellations or delays lasting more than three hours. 

If a delay or cancellation to your home city forces you to stay overnight, United will give you a voucher for a partner hotel. If the partner hotel is booked, then United will reimburse you up to $200 for you to find a hotel. You can also get a voucher for the cost of the ride to the hotel.

Southwest Airlines  (LUV) – Get Southwest Airlines Company Report has a similar rebooking policy, but there is no “same cabin” stipulation like with United, so you could potentially get an upgraded seat at no additional cost. 

Southwest has pretty much the same meal voucher and hotel voucher policies as United, but the airline also offers some help for overnight lodging even if the cancellation is out of its control. 

JetBlue  (JBLU) – Get JetBlue Airways Corporation Report offers either a free rebooking or a refund, and also will rebook on the next available partner airline flight “where practical.”

JetBlue has a $12 cap on its meal vouchers, including taxes and fees, so you can probably afford a couple of candy bars and a small water at the airport convenience store during a three hour delay or more.  

JetBlue offers hotel stays for overnight stranded passengers at the airport hotels as well. If the airport hotels are not available, JetBlue will reimburse you as long as you keep your receipts. 

Flight Delays/Cancellations Spike in 2022

The percentage of on-time flights is the lowest it has been since 2014. At 20.7%, the percentage of delayed flights is also the highest it’s been since 2014. 

Over the past decade, only the pandemic year of 2020 saw more flight cancellations (264,754) than 2022 has (106,037), and there are still four months left in the year. 

In fact, the next closest year for flight cancellations is — you guessed it — 2014 (89,625). 

The issue has been much more acute in 2022 than it was even in 2021 (41,469) when the pandemic was still raging, according to Bureau of Transportation stats.  

Related Posts