Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg doesn’t seem concerned about how United Airlines plans to improve after a massive series of delays ahead of Independence Day.
Rather, Buttigieg says he is “focused” on making sure US airlines stay on track over the holidays, having warned that “severe weather” will cause even more delays and cancellations.
The embattled United Airlines is offering irate passengers 30,000 air miles to try to convince them to remain loyal to the company after a week of cancellation chaos, forcing many to spend nights in airports and many never landing at all. their final destinations.
“We had a tough two days of severe weather at the start of the week and that has put enormous pressure on the system,” CBS Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan told CBS Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan, when asked why air travel in the U.S. The US are “so chaotic” recently.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has warned of more “severe weather” disruptions to air travel over the July 4 holiday following an estimated 7,500 cancellations and tens of thousands of delays.
‘[Cancellations] it really spiked at the beginning of the week, largely due to severe weather affecting some of our key hubs,” explained the Secretary for Transportation. “I think most passengers understand that no one can control the weather. But whatever is in the control of the airlines, and whatever we can do on the FAA side, we need to keep pushing to make sure it’s the smoothest experience possible for airline passengers everywhere.”
In a separate interview with CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning, Buttigieg also said he’s not as concerned with fixing some of the root problems at the airlines right now, but wants to ensure a smooth weekend. with a massive increase in travel and the disruptions that come with it.
“I’m less focused on how the CEO of United Airlines gets around and more on how millions of passengers get around,” Buttigieg told CNN when asked if anything should change at United Airlines after a spate of canceled and delayed flights. .
“It seems that things have quickly returned to normal for the system, and United also seem to have recovered,” he said. ‘Now, we’re looking at a more severe potential for severe weather. That’s what triggered all this trouble a week ago.
Buttigieg said US air travel has “come a long way” since last year, when “even on blue-sky days” there were “unacceptable levels of cancellations and delays.”
Adding to the hundreds of cancellations and delays in the past week, United continues to struggle to save face after news broke that the airline’s CEO, Scott Kirby, flew privately from New York to Denver while paying customers they stayed sleeping on the airport floors.
“Taking a private jet was the wrong decision because it was insensitive to our customers waiting to get home,” Kirby said in a statement issued by the airline.
Passengers weren’t impressed, with one tweeting a screenshot of his $10 million salary, significantly more than the CEOs of Delta or American Airlines.
Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines. His airline is offering airline miles as an apology to passengers stranded this week.
Passengers have been offered 30,000 free airline miles in a bid to try to keep them flying.
Passengers are seen in Newark waiting for their rescheduled flight. Newark, a United hub, was the hardest-hit airport this week, with United the worst airline
United Airlines has come under fire from families stranded in airports across the country when this week’s ‘flightmare’ trip was extended to Friday
Some travelers were told Monday they may not be able to board flights until Thursday.
In a letter to those most affected by this week’s chaos, Customer Service Director Linda Jojo said: ‘I know this week has been difficult. Seriously bad weather, air traffic control issues, and some of our own operational challenges led to a difficult experience for you and many of our customers.
‘Providing these miles is the right thing to do. After all, you trust us and expect more,” Jojo added.
United has not said how many people will receive the miles.
On Saturday, Kirby said the airline plans to make changes to flight operations to avoid weather-related disruptions ahead of the July 4 holiday trip.
“While we work to control the things that are in our control, we also need to do a better job of planning against the things that are out of our control so that we can be in a position to recover more quickly,” he said.
United Airlines is also working with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to get more gates, Kirby said, adding that the company would have to change or further reduce its hours to get more gates and buffers, particularly during the stormy season.
“Airlines can plan for things like hurricanes, freezing temperatures and snowstorms, but United has never seen an extended limited operating environment like we saw last week in Newark,” Kirby said in a note to employees.
United has been the most affected airline in this week of chaos
Earlier this week, Kirby got into a war of words with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg over the chaos.
Kirby said in a memo to employees that the airline had been “failed” by the FAA over the weekend due to a lack of adequate staffing at air traffic control centers.
But Buttigieg responded in an interview with CNN, saying the airline “has some internal issues that they need to work out.”
“I want to be very clear, air traffic control issues are not the number one problem causing cancellations and delays,” he said Thursday.
They’re not even problem number two. All the data, including the industry’s own data, is very clear on that.’
Buttigieg singled out United for its delays and said other airlines were handling the situation better than they were.
“With the exception of United, airlines have recovered to a more typical cancellation/delay rate as of this morning, after severe weather earlier this week,” Buttigieg tweeted.
United Airlines has also come under fire from passengers stranded at airports across the country when this week’s travel was extended until Friday, before the July 4 holiday weekend.
More than 4,000 US flights were delayed Friday and nearly 400 cancelled.
It came amid a busy week for travelers across the country, with nearly 7,000 flight cancellations since Monday.
NEW YORK: More than 800 US flights were delayed today as the July 4 holiday weekend began. People travel through Terminal 4 at JFK airport on Friday before the 4th of July holiday
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg took aim at the company, singling it out for its delays and cancellations.
In addition, there have been 35,000 delays this week as airports have struggled to handle travelers.
TSA advised Americans to “have some patience” as they try to reach their vacation destinations.
“As we approach the 4th of July holiday travel period, expecting record travel volumes, TSA is staffed and ready to handle the increased volumes with technologies and resources to improve security effectiveness, efficiency and the experience of passengers at security checkpoints,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said Thursday.
“I encourage travelers to pack a suitcase that starts empty to ensure they don’t have any prohibited items, arrive early, have their ID ready, and be patient.”