HARTFORD, Conn. — U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal addressed ongoing issues with airline travel Monday, calling for major reforms to protect airline passengers.
Southwest Airlines is back to normal operations after more than a week of chaotic travel disruptions during one of the busiest travel periods of the year.
It's estimated that millions of customers were stranded or significantly delayed on Southwest flights over the holidays.
"The Southwest debacle was hardly the first and hardly unforeseeable," said Blumenthal.
Blumenthal said he wants to see a "radical makeover" in the airline industry, calling on Congress to pass the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights.
The bill ensures airlines will fairly refund tickets in cash instead of travel vouchers and refund other expenses needed for canceled or significantly delayed flights like food, cars and hotels.
Some passengers ditched the airport altogether and decided to rely on the roads to get to their destinations.
"They told us the flight was canceled. We were left with no recourse other than to try the next day and we decided to drive up, so we drove up. We drove up 17 hours," said Dinorah Diaz.
With thousands of Southwest customers still trying to locate their bags or request refunds from their trips, Blumenthal said the situation is an impact of a "mismanagement failure."
He said that since the pandemic, more and more flights are becoming unreliable.
He wants the airline industry to take responsibility in order to make sure this doesn't happen again.
"The numbers of cancellations and delays has risen 63%. One out of every four flights in America in 2022 was canceled or delayed. They are hitting rock bottom performance levels," said Blumenthal.
Southwest customers that are still in need of help filing for a refund or locating lost baggage can get more information here.
If you're unable to receive your refund or your luggage, click here.
Lindsey Kane is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at Lkane@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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