Last week, however, the new airline passenger protections implemented by the Department of Transportation went into effect, which by all accounts represents a major victory for airline passengers and should eventually bring some relief for stranded passengers.
The new protections increase passenger compensation depending on the length of the airline flight delay and require carriers to publish all fees for their optional services to improve transparency and eliminate hidden fees. The new rules also require the airlines refund your paid bag fees if your checked luggage is lost (which seems like common courtesy).
All commercial airlines operating within the U.S. must now follow one of the most demanded changes: the Tarmac Delay Rule, which ensures that passengers will not wait in planes on the tarmac for more than three hours.
Additional rules that were delayed for implementation until January 2012 include airline requirements to:
- publish all fees and taxes
- implement rapid passenger notification of flight status changes
- hold reservations for 24 hours before requiring purchase
So, the first round of new rules should afford customers much-appreciated courtesies, and the second round coming soon will give us all greater transparency and better access to information when we travel.