New US Airline Rules

New rules are being introduced by Federal authorities in the United States which compel airlines to pay proper compensation to passengers when planes are forced to sit on a tarmac for hours and for when passengers are bumped off flights due to overbooking. The rules also enforce airlines to declare all taxes, and ancillary charges when they advertise air fares, and to offer consumers more protection from fees when they change flights within a reasonable time before departure.

These changes will:
•Let the US Department of Transportation impose fines on U.S. and foreign airlines of up to $27,500 per passenger if they leave an international flight on a tarmac for more than four hours without taking off.
•Raise compensation if passengers are bumped from an oversold flight. They’d get double the price of their tickets up to $650 if their arrival at their destination is delayed just a few hours. Currently, compensation is equal to the ticket value, up to $400. Longer delays would trigger payments of four times the value of their tickets, up to $1,300. Currently, that compensation is capped at $800.
•Require airlines to prominently disclose all ancillary fees on their websites, including fees for checking bags, providing meals and cancelling reservations.

There are more rule changes under discussion because they are being challenged by the airlines who argue that they need more time to adapt to them. In order to placate the airlines the Transportation Department has delayed their implementation until January next year. Those proposals include the following provisions which will require airlines to:
•Promptly notify passengers at the boarding gate, on airline websites and via their phone reservation systems of flight cancellations and delays of more than 30 minutes.
•Allow customers to cancel reservations without payment for at least 24 hours if they’re made at least a week before departure.
•Include all government taxes and fees in advertised fares. Airlines typically exclude them.
•Not raise a fare after a ticket has been bought unless it’s a result of government taxes and fees and the flier agrees to any increase.

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