Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Transportation Secretary, Airline CEOs Discuss Service

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Transportation Secretary, Airline CEOs Discuss Service

Article excerpt

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater convened a meeting in Washington D.C., with major airline CEOs and labor and airport representatives to discuss current challenges to the aviation industry and options for improving air service. Secretary Slater released a statement shortly afar the meeting saying, "It was a forthright, productive meeting."

The airline industry has recently come under heavy fire by the flying public due to increased flight delays and cancellations. In June, flight delays were up 16.5 percent from June of 1999, which was widely regarded as a disastrous record. Under pressure from the public, increased media attention, and grumblings from Congress, Slater called the meeting in Washington to try to develop an action plan to improve service.

After the meeting, the USDOT announced the formation of two task forces: one on airline service quality performance and one to identify "best practices" in the industry. The task force on airline quality service performance will develop ideas for modifying the consumer information that airlines report to the USDOT, such as exact causes for delays. The task force will deliver a report to Slater in 90 days.

The best practices task force will identify initiatives to help improve the accuracy and timelines of flight information provided to air travelers. This report will be completed by mid-September.

According to meeting participants, Slater repeatedly proposed the idea of a customer satisfaction guarantee, such as the one recently adopted by Amtrak. …

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