Today, DOT proposed further consumer protections for air travelers. These are in addition to our recent rule putting an end to long tarmac delays and deceptive airline practices.
Today's proposed rule adds a number of new protections to help ensure that airline passengers can expect reasonable treatment when they fly.
For example, our rule would:
- Increase compensation for passengers involuntarily bumped from flights
- Allow passengers to make and cancel reservations within 24 hours without penalty
- Require full and prominently displayed disclosure of baggage fees, as well as refunds and expense reimbursement when bags are not delivered on time
- Require fair price advertising
- Prohibit price increases after a ticket is purchased
- Mandate timely notice of flight status changes
Quite simply, we think airline passengers have rights, and we want to raise the bar for airlines when it comes to treating passengers fairly.
One way to meet that raised bar is for airlines to make it easier for consumers to know how much they will really have to pay for their air transportation. That just seems like the right thing to do.
So, if the airline you're buying a ticket on requires a separate baggage fee to check your first one or two bags, you must be notified. The rule also would prohibit air carriers from raising baggage fees on flights for which you've already made a reservation without providing special notice.
With our proposed rule, potential compensation for being involuntarily bumped from a flight would reach $650 if the carrier arranges substitute transportation scheduled to get you to your destination within one to two hours after originally planned. For international flights that window is one to four hours.
If the substitute transportation is scheduled to arrive more than two hours later than your original schedule for a domestic flight, the potential compensation is $1,300. For international flights that window is four hours or greater.
This rule also adds to our April tarmac-delay rule by expanding the contingency planning requirement to include foreign airline operations at US airports and all carriers operating at small and non-hub airports. And it adds to the delay-reporting requirements of the April rule.
Now, when we propose new rules, they are open for comment. And that means anyone can read the rule and let us know what you think.
We're working hard to make putting your two cents in as easy as possible; that's what President Obama's open government initiative is all about. So, we've added this proposed rule to our user-friendly Regulation Room, an online partnership with Cornell eRulemaking that makes your participation that much easier.
Please visit the Regulation Room in the next 60 days and let us know what you think of our proposed consumer protections for air travelers.
This DOT--government that works, government at your service.