Good things are happening! Airline companies finally face a reckoning over unfair and deceptive practices, and noncompete agreements are set to become a thing of the past. Moreover, public land use just underwent a seismic shift in favor of conservation and sustainability, and the Biden administration passed sweeping new rules to curb oil and gas drilling.

Fairer Skies For Air Travelers

Big moves are underway to safeguard air travelers’ consumer rights, thanks in part to The Lever’s accountability journalism. Over the past two weeks, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg finally launched new regulations and initiatives to bolster consumer protections and address unfair or deceptive airline practices. Buttigieg previously neglecting to do so ahead of the 2022 Southwest Airlines holiday meltdown, which stranded millions of travelers. 

Airlines engage in a number of practices that catch consumers off guard. A lack of clear upfront pricing around checked bags and flight changes has led to unexpected costs. Airlines also frequently fail to provide passengers compensation and accommodation following significant flight delays or cancellations. 

Complaints about such practices have often gone largely unaddressed. Months before Southwest’s mass flight cancellations in 2022, 38 state attorneys general criticized Buttigieg’s agency for failing to address thousands of consumer complaints about airline customer service.