DOT's Office of Aviation Consumer Protection and Enforcement was hard at work in 2011 protecting the interests of the flying public. Whether it's ensuring respect for civil rights, pursuing more transparent fare advertising, or improving passenger treatment during tarmac delays, if you're thinking about traveling by air, this team has your back.
For example, to boost the 2010 tarmac delay rules, last April the office extended passenger protections during tarmac delays to those traveling on international flights or on domestic flights operated by foreign or regional carriers. The April 2011 rule also called for an end to the practice of excluding taxes and fees from the advertised price of airline tickets, and required that the price advertised for air fares include all mandatory fees. Airlines are also required to list optional service fees on the first page of their websites. These provisions will reduce the frustration and sense of having been misled that many air travel consumers endured in the past.
The Air Carrier Access Act makes it clear that that airline passengers with disabilities should have equal access to the same services as all other travelers. So in October, we proposed a regulation that would require airlines and ticket agents to make their websites and automated kiosks accessible to individuals with disabilities.
2011 was a good year for fairness in air travel thanks to the hard work of the Office of Airline Consumer Protection and Enforcement. But DOT is not about to rest easy; the outlook for 2012 is even fairer.