Digital News Report – The U.S. Department of Transportation expanded what they call passenger protections on Wednesday. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood calls it “common sense”.
In the event of a delay, airlines will need to provide adequate food and water. The restrooms need to be in working order as well. “Airline passengers have a right to be treated fairly,” said Secretary LaHood.
Others in Congress agree. California First District Representative, Mike Thompson, says he applauds the measure. “The DOT has shown great initiative by taking action to stop the airline industry’s worst abuses, but there’s still more work to be done,” Thompson said.
There are also new rules concerning lost luggage. Airlines will now be required to refund any fees for a carryon bag if the bag is lost. Like before, they will also need to compensate for the lost items.
There must also be full disclosure of fees. Airlines have been boosting their bottom-line by tacking on fees. They must now “prominently” disclose any fees on their website, including but not limited to fees for baggage, meals, canceling or changing reservations, or advanced or upgraded seating. Their agents must also explain their fees.
Finally, if a passenger is bumped, airlines must pay double or in some cases even more. The current rule says that passengers are entitled to cash compensation equal to the value of their tickets (up to $400). That fee schedule only applies if the airline is able to get the passenger to the destination within 1 or 2 hours of the original schedule. If longer, passengers were allowed to receive double compensation, up to $800.
LaHood says that under the new rule, passengers will receive double the ticket price for short delays, up to $650, and four times the ticket price for longer delays, up to $1,300. Every two years these figures will be adjusted for inflation.
By Mark Williams
Photo: Mike Thompson