New US rules come into effect in August
US transport secretary Ray LaHood has announced new rules designed to make flying a more passenger-friendly experience. One of the main changes will be an increase in compensation amounts for passengers bumped from flights against their will, and new limits on tarmac waiting times for international flights. The regulations will come into force in the US on August 23rd.
Carriers will have to reimburse passengers for lost luggage fees and could also be subject to heavy fines if they do not let passengers out of a plane that has been sitting on the tarmac for more than four hours. (The tarmac rule already applies to domestic carriers who currently abide by a three hour rule).
“Airline passengers have a right to be treated fairly. It’s just common sense that if an airline loses your bag or you get bumped from a flight because it was oversold, you should be reimbursed,” said LaHood. Under current rules, passengers who have been bumped from a flight can claim between $400 and $600, but under the new regulations, these amounts will be bumped up significantly to compensate those who have been bumped off.
Depending on how long affected passengers have to wait for their next flights, airlines will now find themselves paying up to $650 for a delay between 1 and 2 hours of the original arrival time and $1330 for causing a passenger to arrive more than 2 hours later.
In a further move to make air fares more transparent, airlines must include taxes and fees in their prices and will have to clearly display potential charges on their websites and in all advertising from August 2011 onwards. Fees for checked bag fees, upgrades and changing reservations must be clearly outlined so that there are no “hidden fees”.