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New Online Tool Outlines Your Rights When Your Flight Is Canceled

The Department of Transportation's online dashboard comes at the end of a summer full of canceled and delayed flights.

A Delta Airlines 767 in flight
A Delta flight arrives at London's Heathrow Airport.
Kent German/CNET

A new online dashboard from the Department of Transportation aims to give airline customers a better understanding of their rights when it comes to canceled flights, according to a Thursday press release. The dashboard will help educate passengers and hold airlines accountable, the department said.

When informed of the dashboard, "all but one of the ten largest U.S. airlines made significant changes to their plans to improve services provided to passengers when their flights are canceled or delayed because of an airline issue," the release said.

The dashboard gives a side-by-side comparison of those airlines' customer service commitments, which they are legally required to follow if a flight is canceled or significantly delayed for reasons within the airlines' control. For both delays and cancellations, it shows whether an airline has committed to offering no-cost rebooking on the same or a different airline, meal vouchers, or hotel rooms for overnight delays.

It also outlines when airlines are required to offer refunds for delayed or canceled flights.

Flight delays and cancellations have been higher than normal this summer thanks to a rebound in travel from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines cut back staff when very few people were flying, and staffing hasn't caught back up to demand.