US Strengthens Airline Passenger Protection Rules

25 April 2011 (Last Updated April 25th, 2011 18:30)

The US Department of Transportation has unveiled new measures to protect airline passengers and offer better consumer protection for air travel. The new rules will require airlines to reimburse passengers for bag fees if their bags are lost; provide consumers involuntarily bumped from f

The US Department of Transportation has unveiled new measures to protect airline passengers and offer better consumer protection for air travel.

The new rules will require airlines to reimburse passengers for bag fees if their bags are lost; provide consumers involuntarily bumped from flights with greater compensation; expand the current ban on lengthy tarmac delays and disclose hidden fees.

The Department notes the rules, most of which take effect in August, will make air travel simpler and easier for the passengers, and expand on a set of passenger protections adopted last year.

Some of the changes in the new regulation include requiring airlines to allow reservations to be done at the quoted fare without payment, or cancelled without penalty, for at least 24 hours after the reservation is made, including bans on post-purchase fare increases.

The rules increase the compensation offered to bumped passengers to $650/$1,300 from the existing $400/$800 and requires airlines to inform consumers of delays of over 30 minutes, as well as cancellations and diversions.

Among other changes, the airlines will also be required to disclose lengthy tarmac delays at US airports with the Department, including data for international flights and charter flights.