Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Gets Stuck in the Summer Travel Chaos

  • All summer long, Americans have been plagued by flight delays and travel chaos.
  • Now, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is experiencing the same as she tries to get back to DC.
  • Gillibrand and other Democrats have called for an investigation into airlines’ business practices.

Travel chaos has abounded this summer, as people go one way, luggage goes the other, and planes are just not in the right place at the right time.

It’s even being heard in the halls of Congress, or at least by one senator. In a Monday Twitter video, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, revealed that she, too, had been caught in airline summer travel chaos.

Gillibrand was trying to return to Washington from her home state, so she could vote. But she said in her video that was still at JFK in New York, with two of her flights for the day already being delayed. Her first flight was supposed to leave from Islip in Long Island, but was so delayed that they had to go to JFK.

“I hope that I can make the votes this afternoon coming back from New York, but who knows?” She said in the video. “That’s why we are calling for an investigation of what’s going on with air travel today.”

Gillibrand — alongside Sens. Alex Padilla and Richard Blumenthal — sent a letter to FTC Commissioner Lina Khan and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg last week calling on both to investigate major airlines and “ensure they are not engaging in unfair and exploitative business practices.”

“The current number of airline delays and cancellations is unacceptable and harming American airline passengers,” the senators wrote, all while “airlines themselves are posting substantial profits.” They want the FTC and Department of Transportation to look into whether customers are being informed that they can be compensated for delayed and canceled flights, and check that airlines are actually paying that out.

The current situation stems in part from conditions exacerbated by the pandemic. Airlines let a whole lot of people retire early, rather than keeping them around, leading to some of today’s labor shortages. And the new pilots need to be trained — something that takes time and money. Meanwhile, crews are getting burnt out.

Storms in New York and DC may have also led to some of the delays at already-backed up airlines.

Gillibrand invited the disgruntled flyers of Twitter to share their “airport horror stories” her. She also concluded her video with a parting thought: “It’s a mess.”

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