Airlines need to invest to prevent meltdowns, Sen. Blumenthal says

Cracking down on airlines

Airlines need to invest in new systems to prevent meltdowns and should make sure to properly reimburse travelers when those breakdowns happen, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said Wednesday.

Blumenthal, along with Sen. Edward Markey, D- Mass., on Tuesday sent a letter to 13 airlines, including Delta Air Lines and Southwest, asking the carriers to explain their outages and reimbursement policies.

The letter comes a week after Delta canceled more than 1,600 flights over two days when a power outage hit its computer systems.

"If they run into this kind of massive meltdown, travelers ought to be reimbursed and refunded, no questions asked, or given the opportunity to rebook on that airline or another airline without any limit on time or additional costs," Blumenthal said in an interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell."

A big part of the issue is the major consolidation in the industry that has left four airlines in control of 85 percent of the market, he said.

"They had to consolidate their systems. So they're relying on software and other parts of their system that is outmoded," Blumenthal said. "They have had to cobble together the systems. I'm asking, along with Sen. Markey, that they invest to make these systems more resistant and reliant."