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By The Way
Detours with locals. Travel tips you can trust.

What do airlines owe for canceled flights? A new dashboard tells you.

Buttigieg’s customer service tool compares policies for rebooking, meal vouchers and hotel rooms

btw-dashboard (Washington Post Illustration)
8 min

The Transportation Department released a new online dashboard last week that gives travelers a quick, transparent view of what airlines offer for passengers affected by some cancellations and delays. Although easy-to-read tables and links to customer service policies can help customers learn what they’re owed, they won’t mean much for the people who are stuck in the airport for hours.

“Is it a silver bullet that will solve all the problems? No. But it is a step forward,” said John Breyault, a spokesman for the National Consumers League.

The dashboard only deals with circumstances within the airline’s control, such as mechanical problems. A glance tells consumers that American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue make the most promises when it comes to rebooking and meal vouchers or hotels. On the opposite end, Frontier Airlines makes the fewest.

“The airlines for years have been able to get away with obscuring their legal responsibilities in dense legalese in the contract of carriage,” Breyault added. “What a dashboard like this does is makes those obligations much more understandable to consumers.”

Here’s what fliers need to know about the new DOT dashboard.