Senators also ask airlines about policies for reimbursement or to allow passengers to rebook on competing carriers’ flights during travel disruptions
Washington (August 16, 2016) – As airline passengers suffer cancellations and delays due to unexplained airline technology issues, today, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) queried 13 major airlines about efforts to ensure airline information technology (IT) systems are reliable and resilient. Recently, Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines experienced technology issues that resulted in thousands of flight cancellations across the country. Last year, a United Airlines router issue grounded all of the airline’s flights for two hours. In the letters, the Senators inquire about safeguards and backups in place within airline IT systems to protect against power outages, cyberattacks, and other hazards. The Senators also ask the airlines about policies that would allow passengers to be rebooked on another airline or on a different mode of transportation in the event of irregular operations caused by the airlines, as well as about their reimbursement and compensation policies.
“We are concerned with recent reports indicating that airlines’ IT systems may be susceptible to faltering because of the way they are designed and have been maintained,” write Senators Markey and Blumenthal in the letters to the airline CEOs. “Now that four air carriers control approximately 85 percent of domestic capacity, all it takes is one airline to experience an outage and thousands of passengers could be stranded, resulting in missed business meetings, graduations, weddings, funerals, and other prepaid events.”
Senators Markey and Blumenthal sent letters to the following airlines: American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Allegiant Air, Virgin America, Sun Country Airlines and Island Air Hawaii.
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
In the letter, Senators Markey and Blumenthal ask questions that include: