Bipartisan AG Coalition Urges Role in Protecting Airline Passengers

  • In a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a bipartisan coalition of 38 AGs urged Congress to authorize state AGs to enforce state and federal consumer protection laws governing the airline industry.  The Airline Deregulation Act expressly preempts states from regulating airlines’ prices, routes or services, and the U.S. Supreme Court has specifically rejected efforts by state AGs to enforce state consumer protection laws against airlines.
  • In the letter, the AGs observed that, over the past few years, their offices have received thousands of complaints regarding airline customer service, including claims that some airlines failed to provide required credits to those who lost travel opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The AGs went on to allege that the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has failed to respond to or provide appropriate recourse in the complaints the AGs have relayed to the federal agency, and that consumers have become “justifiably frustrated” with the DOT’s failure to provide effective redress.
  • The AGs urged Congress to pass legislation that would authorize AGs to enforce state and federal consumer protection laws against the airline industry, and to consider shifting federal (currently DOT’s) authority to investigate airline passenger complaints to agencies with a broader consumer protection mandate, such as the DOJ or FTC.