A couple little victories for passengers in the air travel game
As documented by the Airline Reporter last week, a few new rules have been announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation in commercial air travel. On paper at least, these rules are in place give passengers an easier time in the skies.
My favorite rule is that now, if your checked bags don’t show up when you do, your bag fee should be refunded. It seems like this should have been a no-brainer rule when airlines began charging for bags a few years back. Maybe the private sector does need government to remind them of common sense once in awhile.
Secondly, the minimum payout for bumped passengers has been raised to $650 from $400. Interestingly, when I’ve been in airports lately, I’ve heard of gate agents offering payouts of $300 or less. I was recently bumped for $150 voucher, but it was for a direct flight that arrived earlier than my original, one-connection flight, so I can’t be mad about that.
The third new rule is a good one for consumers as well. Now, all fees and taxes must be applied to advertised fares, so no more $299 roundtrip to Europe! specials, apparently. Spirit Airlines may have to completely re-do their marketing campaign, and I only wish RyanAir in Europe had this kind of rule to deal with.
This rule makes things easier for consumers to sift through ads and deal offers, but as Airline Reporter wonders, what other industries are mandated to do this?
Last week, United-Continental reported a $200 million quarter loss, so clearly rising fuel prices are making it tough for airlines to make a little money right now. I didn’t go to no fancy business school, but I’d expect more ticky-tack charges on passengers to come. It’s inevitable that airlines begin charging for carry-on roller bags as soon as they figure out how to do so without holding up the boarding process.
I’m also curious when the September 11th Security Fee that shows up on my airline tickets is going to go away. 10 years have nearly passed. Will it be 20 years? 100 years?
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