ILLINOIS – Attorney General Kwame Raoul, with 17 attorneys general, announced a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation to review and resolve consumer complaints against airlines and ticket agents. The agreement streamlines the process for the attorneys general and the DOT to work together to review consumer complaints and identify violations of federal aviation consumer protection requirements.

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Raoul first engaged with the DOT on this memorandum of understanding (MOU) in August 2023 to address consumer complaints against air travel companies and reinforce state and federal commitments to protect the rights of the travelers. This action comes at a time when complaints about flight disruptions, lack of refunds, and lost or delayed baggage continue to be core passenger concerns.

“This agreement between my office and the U.S. Department of Transportation will allow states and the federal government to collaborate to ensure consumer complaints are prioritized and used to hold companies accountable to the passengers who spend their hard-earned money on airfare,” Raoul said. “I am proud to participate in this bipartisan effort to protect the rights of airline passengers in Illinois and across the country.”

Federal law places the central responsibility for protecting airline consumers with the DOT. Under this historic agreement, state attorneys general will be authorized to investigate consumer complaints against air carriers, ticket agents and other air travel companies working with the DOT.

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“We take our mission to protect consumers seriously, and today’s launch of the Airline Passenger Protection Partnership is an important milestone in that effort,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “By partnering with a bipartisan group of state attorneys general, the U.S. Department of Transportation has expanded our ability to hold airlines and ticket agents accountable and protect passengers from unfair or deceptive practices.”

According to the agreement, Raoul and the state attorneys general will work with airline customers and companies to resolve complaints, and if necessary, will refer complaints to the DOT’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP). The OACP will prioritize its review of complaints based on those referrals, include the offices of state attorneys general when sending inquiry letters to companies, and consult with state attorneys general before determining next steps.

The DOT will also provide technical assistance and training to state attorney general staff and will meet at least once a year to assess ongoing efforts and to update Illinois and other states on any actions taken in response to state-referred complaints.

The MOU will last for two years, but Illinois and the DOT may agree to extensions at two-year intervals after the agreement ends.

In 2022, Raoul also urged the federal government to strengthen protections for airline passengers and asked Congress to authorize state attorneys general to enforce federal consumer protection laws governing the airline industry.

Joining Raoul in signing the MOU with the DOT are the attorneys general from California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New York, New Hampshire, North Carolina, the Northern Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Wisconsin.

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