New Rules Shielding Airline Passengers Take Effect

Air travellers are set for good time as the U.S. Department of Transportation is all ready to implement new pro-consumer passenger rules from today. New travellers’ rights aim to ensure that customers are protected from unfair and deceptive practices adopted sometimes by the airlines

From today, i.e. 23rd August 2011, airlines will be required to refund baggage fees for lost luggage and will be obligated to fork out much more for bumping involuntary passengers on overbooked flights. U.S. Department of Transportation can also impose large fines on international flights that hang around at the airport tarmac for more than four hours. Additionally, from today onwards the airlines will be required to display fee charged on everything, from checking a bag to buying food.

Lost Luggage

Carriers will be compelled to refund baggage fees in case a passenger’s baggage is lost. Till now, the airlines were obliged only to compensate for lost or damaged goods. However, the new rule does not benefit those travellers whose baggage is delayed. It is reported that only 1{44f67c1dd4434a07c6253647403409d3e056e37e06b5b681c79680906e30ac98} of the checked baggage is declared -lost’ by the airline.

Involuntary Bumping

Travellers who have valid air tickets and are involuntarily denied boarding will be entitled to much more compensation from the airlines under new regulations. Airlines will now be required to pay a compensation of four times the value of ticket up to $1,300 if they are not able to provide alternative flight to the passenger within two hours for domestic travel and four hours for international flights.

This new rule is sure to discourage airlines from overbooking flights. Not many carriers will have a heart to bump passengers if the bumping compensation is so high. This is the second significant rise in the compensation in recent years.

Airlines used to make a lot of money by overbooking flights with dollar rich travellers and then conveniently bumping passengers with cheap flight tickets. But now with new rules, it will indeed be a very tough decision for the airlines to bump passengers who have cheap tickets on flights. Travellers must also bear in mind that carriers are necessitated to pay them cash then and there. One can surely decline an airline’s offer of vouchers for future usage.

DOT’s Proposed Regulations

Department of Transportation has few more customer-centric rules in the pipeline. Such regulations will most likely come into effect from the early part of the next year.
Passengers will be permitted to make change or to cancel reservations within 24 hours of booking without any penalty fee, as long as the booking was made at least seven days before flight departure.

Carriers will be duty-bound to immediately inform passengers of cancellations, diversions and delays of more than 30 minutes.