Kip Tips


New Protections for Air Travelers in Effect

Cameron Huddleston

The rules require reimbursement for baggage fees if your luggage is lost and require more compensation for passengers bumped from their flights.



Remember the old United Airlines' slogan: Fly the friendly skies? It's a little closer to being true now that the Department of Transportation's new protections for airline passengers have taken effect.

To be clear, the protections -- which kicked in August 23 -- aren't a cure-all for everything that ails air travel. As consumers pointed out in posts on the Department of Transportation's site after the rules were announced, the new protections are only a start. Take a look at the rules and share your thoughts in the reader comment box below.

Increased compensation. If you are bumped from an oversold flight, you're now eligible for more compensation -- up to $1,300 compared with $800 in the past.

Refund of bag fees for lost bags. Airlines that require you to pay a fee to check bags now have to reimburse that fee if they lose your bag. However, they do not have to refund that fee if your bag is merely delayed. (Airlines already have to compensate passengers for reasonable expenses for loss, damage or delay of baggage.)

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Limit on tarmac delays for international flights. The three-hour limit on tarmac delays (once limited to U.S. airlines operating domestic flights) will now cover the international flights of foreign airlines at U.S. airports, and domestic flights at small-hub and non-hub airports. Airlines have to let passengers off the plane if the tarmac delay exceeds the limit.

Better disclosure. Airlines must display taxes and fees more clearly on their Web sites.

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