State AG Phil Weiser, US Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg announce airline passenger complaint system

Buttigieg presser.jpeg
Posted at 12:32 PM, Apr 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-22 10:01:29-04

DENVER — There's a new system for airline passengers to have their complaints heard, state Attorney General Phil Weiser and US Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg announced in a news conference at Denver International Airport Tuesday.

Through this system, the Colorado Attorney's General Office can investigate traveler complains against airlines, its ticket agents and other companies involved in air travel. Weiser's office will work with complainants and companies to review and resolve reported problems or refer the issue to the US Department of Transportation's Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP).

The DOT will train staff in the AG's office and meet with them at least once a year to get an update on how the system is working, according to a news release from Weiser's office.

Under current law, the complaint process goes through the DOT.

"It has been clear that we need more resources that we need allies that we need a force multiplier to help us get that work done," Buttigieg said. "Meanwhile, many of America's attorney generals have experienced an equal and opposite frustration, with as many passengers and customers coming to them. And there being a federal framework in which the states are not empowered to take direct enforcement action. So you got us at the feral level looking for more resources. And then you've got all these resources and leadership at the state level, eager to do more to support the people that they sere."

“This agreement and partnership with the DOT will allow my office to directly serve Colorado consumers when they file complaints about unfair or deceptive airline business practices and creates a process to ensure DOT prioritizes complaints we refer," Weiser said.

This arrangement comes after ongoing issues with air travel across the country — from planes losing parts to 16,900 flights being canceled during the 2022 holiday travel period.

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"We heard from so many passengers dealing with lost baggage disrupted itineraries, efforts to try to get their money back when they were owed a refund. The list goes on and on," Buttigieg said during Tuesday's news conference. "Those aren't just inconveniences. They're violations that we as a department can do something about."

Weiser led the effort for state's attorneys general to Colorado try this new arrangement, according to the news release from the attorney general's office.

California, Connecticut, D.C., Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New York, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin are also participating in the new partnership with the DOT.

Coloradans can file a complaint against airlines, ticket agents and other companies involved in air travel for harmful or deceptive practices here.

The program will be in place for at least the next two years. Then Colorado and the DOT will review whether both sides want to renew the partnership every two years.

State AG, US Transportation Sec. announces airline passenger complaint system

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