Airline disruptions continue to persist across the country, with more than 6,700 flights delayed on Tuesday alone, according to data from flight tracking site FlightAware.
More than 1,400 flights to, from and across the United States have already been delayed as of noon ET on Wednesday, according to FlightAware, which tracks live statistics on flight delays and cancellations.
There have been widespread disruptions throughout the summer as airlines try to meet passenger demand, which has reached pre-pandemic levels.
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Over the past 10 days, more than 70,000 flights have been delayed, according to data from FlightAware.
“After receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer support during the pandemic, the airline industry’s customer service has reached an unacceptable new level,” tweeted Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California.
Padilla and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, urging his department to “hold airlines accountable for delayed and canceled flights.”
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“Some delays are unavoidable, but consistently delaying flights for reasons within an airline’s control is an unfair and deceptive practice,” the senators wrote.
Warren and Padilla said airlines have already canceled nearly 122,000 flights this year. In addition, the senators argued that 41% of flight delays this year were due to reasons within the control of the airlines and that the Department of Transport “has the power to tackle this problem” by imposing fines. airlines for the delays they cause.
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Earlier this summer, Buttigieg said his department could take enforcement action against airlines that fail to meet consumer protection standards. But first, he wanted to see if any significant flight disruptions were occurring over the July 4 holiday weekend and the rest of the summer.
Meanwhile, airlines are scrambling to address operational issues by setting schedules to make remaining fights more reliable and hiring and training more pilots and customer service agents, according to Nicholas Calio, president of Airlines. for America, which represents the largest US carriers.
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian even apologized in a call with analysts earlier this month, saying the carrier “didn’t live up to our industry-leading standards,” but that the company had invested in measures to restore its “operational integrity”.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.