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After Thousands of Memorial Day Weekend Flight Cancellations, Blumenthal & Markey Demand Airlines & DOT Mitigate Disruptions for Travelers

“While some flight cancellations are unavoidable, the sheer number of delays and cancellations this past weekend raises questions about airline decision-making.”

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Following thousands of flight cancellations and delays over Memorial Day weekend, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) demanded answers from the airline industry about the cause of these disruptions and steps taken to notify and refund passengers for flights canceled by airlines, as required by law. Blumenthal and Markey called on airlines and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to take action to mitigate future delays and cancellations as consumers return to traveling, including earlier notifications to fliers in case of expected inclement weather.

“We are concerned by reports that thousands of flights were delayed and cancelled this past weekend, adding to the mass delays and cancellations that snarled air travel in recent months,” wrote the senators in a letter to airline industry group Airlines for America after nearly 2,800 flights were cancelled over Memorial Day weekend by multiple airlines. “We understand that some of these factors are outside of the airlines’ control and appreciate the airlines’ efforts to staff up as passenger air travel volumes increase and to notify passengers as early as possible of flight delays and cancellations, but thousands of passengers are still turning up at airports only to have their flights cancelled at the last minute, preventing them from reaching their destinations. Such occurrences pose significant hardships to the travelling public, and we are disappointed that these delays and cancellations are occurring so frequently that they are becoming an almost-expected part of travel. We urge the airlines to take all necessary steps to mitigate those disruptions.”

In a letter to DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Blumenthal and Markey urged DOT action to ensure airlines are held accountable and comply with the law, writing: “Given these recent flight disruptions and the impending surge in summer travel, please provide information on the steps DOT is taking in response to this past weekend’s cancellations, both to reduce the likelihood of sweeping delays and cancellations from reoccurring and to ensure impacted consumers receive full compensation, including refunds.”

The full text of the letter to Airlines for America can be found here. The full text of the letter to DOT can be found here.