No doubt this has been the worst summer on record in terms of airline and airport chaos. It’s happening all over the world and it’s happening for a number of reasons. The main problem is that many airlines and airports don’t have enough workers for the number of flights they’ve scheduled. The FAA was short-staffed too; neither of them were expecting such a fast turnaround from the pandemic or the great resignation. There are more reasons too like Covid and low wages but that’s another story.

It obviously takes time to hire and train new staff so the problems plaguing airlines and airports are not a quick fix. But hopefully, since summer is unofficially over on Tuesday (at least in terms of mass travelers), passengers should see less chaos and lower prices – across the board.

Since the early spring, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has been inundated with passenger complaints. According to Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, most complaints have been about refunds and what passengers are owed when schedules don’t go as planned. But Buttigieg promised to take action on airline delays and proposed new rules designed to offer better protection for airline consumers.

The airlines have always had their refund policies in writing in their contracts of carriage, but hardly anyone, if anyone at all, ever reads them since they’re so long and boring. I think that’s the point.

Well, the Transportation Secretary made good on his promise as the DOT did indeed roll out their new Airline Customer Service Dashboard before Labor Day. On Thursday it went live at transportation.gov and it’s just a basic graph listing the 10 major U.S. airlines (Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit and United) at the top and posing five important questions for both controllable delays and cancelations:

-Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost
-Rebook passenger on another airline at no additional cost
-Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellations results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more for new flight
-Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation
-Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation

If the graph shows a green check mark below the airline and beside the question it means that airline has committed to providing that service or amenity to its customers. If there’s a red “x” it means the airline has not made that commitment.



The purpose of this is to encourage consumers to shop around by figuring out, in easy-to-understand terms, what each airline owes you in the event of delays or cancelations.

As you can see, not surprisingly, the three ultra-low-fare carriers: Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit, are the worst when it comes to what they will do for their passengers.

That’s why I’ve been telling people who subscribe to my free daily travel tip or attend my seminars, not to book a low-fare carrier unless you know all of their fees and rules. Because a $19 ticket doesn’t mean it’s going to cost $19 (especially if you’re bringing a bag, you’ll pay extra for that) and if there’s a problem, you could be stuck a lot longer than you would if you had booked a major carrier.

Regardless: Just know that if an airline cancels your flight or significantly delays it for any reason, including bad weather, and you don’t want to take a later flight, then the airline has to refund your money in full. They might try to offer you a credit or voucher but insist on a refund.

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8 Comments On "The 3 Worst Airlines to Fly According to the New DOT Dashboard"
  1. Michael Cleveland|

    What is significant? 3hr. 5hr. 8hr?? 2weeks? Ha!

    I know depends on airport and what outbound flights are available. ie. Chicago vs. Minot

    But a rule of thumb would be helpful.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good question. Some airlines it’s 2 hours but others could be 6

  2. Tom L|

    The dashboard is really worth little – it will depend on how the airline applies what it says it is going to do.
    What we really need is EU261 type protection for airline consumers!

  3. Margo|

    I had a cancelled flight on United August 5th. I rebooked but couldn’t get out until the next day. I followed the direction of the agent who rebooked me to fill out the online form requesting reimbursement for hotel. I received a very vague email from United saying they could not reimburse me. Any suggestions on how to move forward? I am not giving up!

  4. Dennis L Remp|

    Well, you have an X next to Allegiant for meal/cash voucher for delays and cancellations. They gave me a voucher and $50 per passenger credit for that issue so not sure of the accuracy of that data. Also, Allegiant goes far beyond the industry standards in their treatment of Veterans, dig into their policies. Priority boarding, 2 free checked bags with no weight limit, courtesy carry-on bag, free pet travel, waive rebooking fees. My go to airline hands down

  5. SIMON|

    OOLAALAAH THATS ALTHOUGH SOOOOOO MISERABLY MONSTEROUS BUT REASONABLY MARVELOUS 2B THE CONFIRMED LET ALONE IF NOT CONDEMNED + CERTIFIED AS CORRUPTEDLY AS CRIMINALIZING CONCOCTED INSINUATIONALUZED STORIES PASSING THROUGH PASSENGER WITH SEVERE HEARING DISABILITIES OR RANDOMLY OTHERWISE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED CONDITIONS DISABILITIES FACED OR NEGATIVELY CONTINUED PLOWING THRU ILLEGITIMATELY ORDAINED CHALLENGES WITH THE UNEXPECTED INEXPERIENCED + UNCOMPETITIVES ILLINFORMED TRASHED DUMPSTERING DONKEYS BRAIN DRAINING WASHED TUMULTUOUS TURMOILINGS CATASTROPHICALLY ORDAINED CALAMITIES TRAINED TERRIBLE STAFFING WITH COLLEAGUES OF COLORED BY TECHNICOLORED VINNIES DOGGIES WITHOUT LUBRICATING LOTIONS TOUCHED DOWNS SYNDROMES AS WORSE AS LETS GO BEEF JERKIES JOE BLOODY BIDEN GETS ORGIES SESSIONS WITH MOMOLA HORRIBLE HARRIS 2B LETS GO BRANDON GET LAID 2B PAID WITH COLORED BY TECHNICOLORED VINNIES DOGGIES OF DONKEYS PLACENTAS PIECES OF DEVILS FECKLESS FECES TYPES OF SHAPES & FORMS PERVERTED POLICIES HOLDINGS THESE SEWAGES SYSTEMS SEPTICS TANKINGS MOUTHS FARTINGS DIARRHEA DISEASES EVEN WORSE THAN COVID-19 MUTILATED OMICRON MONKEES POXINGS PRESSURE COOKING COWARDLY FLYING TRASHED DUMPSTERING AIRLINES INDUSTRIES CORED CURSED COITUS COURSES COMPASSIONATED COPULATINGS COMPANION PARTNERSHIP PERIOD ACCORDINGLY THANX CHAO CHEERS SHALOM HALLELUJAH

  6. Stuart A. Cohen|

    Learn how to type without caplocks

  7. Eric M|

    My personal experience is that there should be a lot more red Xs on those tables. I would also like to see the difference in their policies for “uncontrollable” delays, like weather or a bomb scare.

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