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Proposed airline passenger-rights rules win praise

Airlines LAX Air passenger groups and a business travel association Wednesday praised a new set of passenger-rights rules proposed by the Department of Transportation.

The new regulations, announced Wednesday but set to take effect later this year, would add international flights to the current ban on keeping passengers stranded on a delayed domestic flight for more than three hours.

The rules would also require airlines to reimburse passengers for bag fees if their bags are lost, increase the compensation for passengers who are bumped from flights, and require airlines to prominently disclose extra fees on their websites.

The rules build on new regulations adopted by the Department of Transportation last year that impose fines on airlines that keep passengers stranded on delayed flights for more than three hours.

The Assn. for Airline Passenger Rights, a Washington-based nonprofit group, applauded the new rules, saying they will help protect passengers from being mistreated by airlines.

The Business Travel Coalition, a Virginia-based trade group for travel managers, said the requirement that airlines disclose extra fees will help its members compare transportation costs among competing airlines.

The Air Transport Assn., the trade group that represents the nation's largest airlines, said it believes that airlines have already taken great strides in improving passenger service without the need for more government rules.

"Market forces -– not additional regulations -– are already providing customer benefits," ATA President Nicholas E. Calio said in a statement.

-- Hugo Martin

Photo: Airplanes taxi on the runway at Los Angeles International Airport. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
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