Biden Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg vowed three months ago that air travel would improve by the holidays, however, after the Southwest Airlines debacle he has sharply been criticized for his lies.
Federal officials reportedly share equal responsibilities as the airlines for the massive nationwide cancellations the travelers saw over the past week.
Months ago Buttigieg was warned that holiday travel would wreak havoc on the airlines and that he should do something now to prevent chaos.
However, he ignored those warnings.
Buttigieg received a bipartisan letter from 38 state attorney generals demanding him to do more to fix the problem, arguing that he “failed to respond and to provide appropriate recourse” to thousands of consumer complaints about airlines customer service.
Southwest canceled over 62 percent of its flight as of Thursday, more than 5,000 in two days alone, leaving thousands of travelers stranded at airports not knowing when their next flight might be.
Republicans have complained that Buttigieg does not take his job seriously, because if he did, most of these problems could have been avoided.
He has conveniently been absent when major crises have happened in the U.S., such as when railroad unions attempted to negotiate a deal to avoid a potential strike, Buttigieg was vacationing in Europe. And when the country faced disastrous supply chain shortages, he was on paternity leave.
Even Democrats such as David Sirota, a former speechwriter for Bernie Sanders, said that Buttigieg missed the mark on this one.
During an interview, Buttigieg said that he has been working on cracking down to hold the airlines responsible when they cancel or delay flights.
“I think it’s going to get better by the holidays. We’re pressing the airlines to deliver better service. So many people have been delayed, been canceled – it’s happened to me! Several times, this summer! And the fact is, they need to be ready to service the tickets they’re selling,” Buttigieg said.
However, many argue that this is like the blind leading the blind.
The Wall Street Journal pointed out that several airlines already offer passengers refunds for delayed and canceled flights.
“Stripping airlines of their ability to compete on refunds and other things won’t help customers,” the WSJ noted, adding “requiring carriers to add unnecessary employees is inefficient, a sop to unions, and a recipe for higher fares. Imposing fines for non-weather-related delays or cancellations will put new pressure on airlines to cut other corners. The last thing the nation needs is 50 new state airline regulators.”
Buttigieg probably hasn’t rushed to fix the airline problem because he is too busy flying to fancy vacations on his private jet while the rest of America has to sleep on dirty airport floors.