Airline passenger protection rules take effect
A new set of passenger protection rules takes effect Tuesday, requiring airlines to increase the compensation for passengers who are bumped from a scheduled flight and reimburse checked baggage fees for luggage that is lost, among other new rules.
The rules are the latest imposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation in the last two years, sparked by several notorious cases of flight delays, including the plight of passengers stranded for nearly six hours on a plane in Rochester, Minn., in 2009.
Under the new rules:
Airlines must refund any checked bag fee for lost luggage.
Passengers who are bumped from a scheduled flight can be compensated up to $1,300, an increase from the previous maximum compensation of $800.
Also, international flights of foreign airlines that takeoff or land in the U.S. must return passengers to the terminal if they are delayed on the tarmac for up to four hours. The current rule requires only domestic airlines to return passengers to the terminal if a plane is delayed on the tarmac for up to three hours. Airlines that violate the tarmac rule face fines of up to $27,500 per passenger.
Another set of rules that mandates that airlines disclose all fees and taxes, among other requirements, takes effect in January.
-- Hugo Martin
Photo: Passengers at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. Credit: Los Angeles Times