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Gillibrand calls for investigation into deceptive airline practices

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U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is questioning why airlines are reporting increased revenues — despite an uptick in canceled and delayed flights.

“We need to know whether these airlines are employing deceptive business practices like offering flights they know are logistically impossible to execute,” Gillibrand said. “We need to know, are they informing consumers that they can be compensated for significantly delayed or canceled flights.”

Airlines argue the delays and cancellations are due to staffing shortages — an issue Gillibrand said was solved by $54 billion in federal pandemic relief for airline staffing during the pandemic.

She is calling on the Department of Transportation and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the airlines' potential deceptive business practices, including charging more for tickets during the current boom in post-pandemic travel.

“With demand increasing so quickly, they are taking advantage of the historic ticket sales,” Gillibrand said. “That means that now, hard working Americans are paying more for increasingly inferior service. Taken together, it is clear that airlines have traded good customer service and sound hiring practices for higher profit margins and greater shareholder wealth.”

Over 30,000 U.S. flights have been canceled since Memorial Day. New York airports have the highest cancellation rates across the country.

Molly is a reporter covering Fairfield County. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.