A picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, 222 pages.
It’s bordering on the absurd when someone says “emotional support peacock” and everyone knows exactly what they’re talking about. There’s never been a more colorful example demonstrating how important it is for airlines, our passengers and the Department of Transportation to examine the rules and regulations that govern our industry and look for ways to make flying better for everyone.
That’s just what the airlines did when we responded to a request from the DOT to submit our thoughts on rules and regulations that can be improved to help the airline industry continue to serve our passengers as best we can. We think it’s important for an industry and the organization that regulates it to have an open and ongoing dialogue about what both sides can do better.
We highlighted several areas for recommended improvement, and while we don’t expect the DOT to take all of our suggestions, the broader point is, there are things that need to change. Some of the rules and regulations we want examined haven’t been reviewed or updated in decades. Very few things are the same as they were 10, 20 or 30 years ago. It doesn’t make sense to have such outdated rules governing an industry that is striving for innovation.
We’re not asking the DOT to get off our back. In some cases, we’re asking that they increase or clarify rules and regulations, so we can improve our service. Vague regulations create challenges for airlines to provide the travel experience our passengers expect and deserve. The DOT providing a better understanding on issues like the definition of service animals, or what they mean when they direct prompt service for disabled passengers, allows our industry the opportunity to improve. We’re not trying to charge for these things or mitigate costs. We want to have a better understanding, so we can provide better service to communities that deserve every consideration.
Despite how some people are interpreting our industry’s effort to work with the DOT so we can provide better service, this is about our passengers. At our core, the airline industry is a customer service business. Without our passengers we wouldn’t exist. That’s why the industry invests so much in both time and resources to improve the travel experience for everyone who flies. Working to streamline and modernize the regulations governing our industry is an important component of that work.
We get it, criticism comes with the territory. An industry that flies 2.3 million passengers every day and only receives 32 complaints filed with the DOT daily must be doing something right. We understand and know there’s always room for improvement. And that extends to our work with DOT. We want to arrive at a system of rules and regulations that protect our passengers to help us improve our service and make our industry better.