The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced an updated set of airline passenger regulations that will go into effect in August of 2011. The intent of these rules is to build out the few passenger protections established in December of 2009.
- Airlines will now be required to refund baggage fees if the bag is lost. This seemed like a no-brainer to us, but apparently it wasn’t required before.
- Airlines will now be required to prominently disclose all potential fees, including fees for baggage, meals, cancelling or changing reservations, and upgraded seating. What’s changed? The airlines were previously not required to include government taxes and fees in their fare quotes.
- Airline compensation to passengers who are bumped off oversold flights is now increased. See what the airlines owe you now. What’s changed? Bumped passengers who are subjected to short delays (arriving within 1-2 hours of their original arrival for domestic flights and 1-4 hours for international flights) are entitled to double the price of their tickets up to $650; passengers subjected to longer delays will receive reimbursement of four times the price of their tickets up to $1,300. Inflationary adjustments every two years are also built into the rules.
- Non U.S. airlines are required to limit lengthy tarmac delays. The ruling established a hard four-hour time limit on tarmac delays for international flights of U.S. and foreign airlines (with some exceptions for safety, security or air traffic control reasons). What’s changed? The tarmac ruling previously applied only to U.S. carriers. It’s now expanded to foreign airlines operating in the U.S.