Airline passengers would get more money when involuntarily bumped from oversold flights and would enjoy other new protections concerning fares and baggage fees under tightened regulations proposed Wednesday by the Department of Transportation.
If adopted, the rules would go into effect next spring after a period of public comment. Here’s how the new rules would affect you:
- If you are denied a seat on a domestic flight, you would get $650, up from the current $400, if your replacement flight was scheduled to arrive between one and two hours later than the original flight’s scheduled time. (If the new flight’s schedule gets you there just 59 minutes later, you get nothing.)
- If the scheduled arrival is more than two hours later, you would get $1,300—up from today’s $800. Those reimbursements could be adjusted every two years for inflation.
- You would be able to change or cancel airline reservations without penalty within 24 hours of a booking.
- Airline advertisements would have to state a fare’s full price. Currently, carriers can exclude taxes and special fees.
- Baggage fees must be fully disclosed, including issuing special notices whenever baggage fees are increased, and informing you when you buy tickets if you must pay for checking up to two bags. Airlines must also fully disclose policies concerning refunds and expense reimbursement when bags get lost.
- Airlines could not raise the price of a ticket after you bought it.
- Airlines would have to provide you with “timely notice” of flight status changes.
- Last month’s ban on tarmac delays of more than three hours without food and drink by U.S.-based carriers would be applied to foreign carriers operating in the United States.
- "Airline passengers have rights and should be able to expect fair and reasonable treatment when they fly,” Transportation Secretary Raymond LaHood said in a statement on the proposed new policies.
Further information is available in an online Department of Transportation fact sheet. The public will now have 60 days to submit comments on whatever aspects concern them—fare ads, tarmac delays and how airlines should deal with passengers’ peanut allergies. Online, feedback can be left at regulations.gov or Regulation Room, a site run jointly by the department and Cornell University.