RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares today joined 37 other states in signing a letter addressed to Congressional leaders urging them to authorize state attorneys general to enforce consumer protection laws concerning airlines.
“Flying is essential to millions of Virginians and helps support both our state and national economies, which means that consumer confidence in the air travel experience has significant economic impact,” Miyares said in a statement. “For years, the federal government has failed to spur the U.S. Department of Transportation to effectively and efficiently respond to consumer complaints and state attorneys general have little to no authority to hold airline companies accountable when they break the law and abuse consumers. Congress must discuss possible legislation that provides more consistent and fair enforcement mechanisms for consumer violations to protect Virginians that are heavily reliant on the airline industry for personal and professional travel.”
The letter signed by Miyares claims that over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline industry failed its customers. According to the letter, these failures include systematic issues with providing flight credits to those whose flights may have been canceled.
Over the past two years, thousands of complaints nationwide have been made against airline customer service, according to the signers. Currently, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) is responsible for addressing these complaints. However, Miyares and his fellow signers claim that USDOT has thus far failed to deal with complaints effectively.
“For airline consumers to be properly protected, we urge Congress to take meaningful action and pass legislation that would authorize state attorneys general to enforce our state and federal consumer protection laws governing the airline industry,” the letter reads. “Furthermore, we encourage Congress to consider shifting the authority for federal investigations of patron complaints concerning airlines from the US DOT to an agency more primarily focused on consumer protection, such as the U.S. Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission.”
The full letter can be read here.