DOT Proposes New Rules,Refunded Fees On Delayed Baggage And More

The U.S. Transportation Department is proposing new rules that will make airlines refund fees on bags that arrive very late, own up to more mistakes and follow other new rules to promote competition between carriers and offer consumers better information for choosing an airline.

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Here’s some of the proposed rules.

  • Prohibit online ticket agents from undisclosed biasing of flight offerings on behalf of certain airlines. Certain agents may be offering flights based on relationships with certain carriers rather than providing a neutral rundown of offerings based on fares or schedules. The rules that is expected to go into effect within 60 days, aims to provide as much transparency as possible.
  • Contracted regional flights operated under major airline brands will be included in the major carriers’ operational performance statistics reported to DOT
  • Airlines required to report operational performance to DOT will expand from those with at least 1% of US domestic airline revenue to those with at least 0.5%, resulting in seven carriers added to the 12 currently reporting performance statistics to DOT.Based on today’s revenue figures, the seven carriers are likely to be Air Wisconsin, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air, Minneapolis-based Endeavor Air, Phoenix-based Mesa Airlines, Indianapolis-based Shuttle America, Dallas/Fort Worth-based Envoy Air and Indianapolis-based Republic Airlines. This rule is expected to go into effect in January 2018.
  • Changes to how mishandled baggage is reported. Instead of mishandled bags per passenger, airlines will have to report mishandled bags per checked bag.
  • Airlines will have to report incidents of mishandled wheelchairs so that travelers with disabilities can compare the service they might receive on different carriers.
  • Proposed rule to to require airlines to refund baggage fees when a passenger’s luggage is substantially delayed. If you pay a baggage fee [and the checked bag is delayed], you’ve essentially paid for a service you’re not getting.
  • Proposed rule to explore requiring airlines to disclose an “all-in-one price” on online travel sites, the department said. Fees to be potentially included in the disclosed price are baggage fees, seat assignment fees, and change and cancellation fees.
  • Proposed rule to keep airlines from preventing online travel sites from listing certain sets of the airline’s fare and flight options. DOT will be looking into whether that kind of restriction is an unfair practice that makes it harder for travelers to find the most affordable and convenient flights that match their needs.

HT: ATWonline & WSJ

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