PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Hate to fly because you want to avoid things like lost luggage and crummy customer service? Well the Department of Transportation understands your pain and is taking action. 3-On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan tells about some new changes that are being made to make the friendly skies a bit more customer friendly.
It seems that every airline passenger has a gripe. Traveler Jill Dente says, “You have to pay for every little thing. You have to pay for snacks, you have to pay for a little bag of pretzels.” While traveler Ron Charboneau tells us, “Several times I’ve had to go out and buy new clothes in order to be at meeting the next day, not knowing if I am going to have my luggage.”
Now the federal government wants to help alleviate some traveler concerns. The Department of Transportation is expanding The Airline Passenger Bill of Rights, the rules that it implemented just last year. According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, “We want to make sure that passengers have some sort of rights when they get on these planes.”
So what are the changes being made? Among them, airlines will have to prominently display all fees and taxes in every advertised price, even on the web. If an airline loses your luggage, they’ll have to refund the fee you paid to check the bag in the first place. Compensation for passengers bumped from flights will “bumped up” to between $650 and $1,300 and airlines can now face hefty fines for holding passengers on delayed international flights for longer than four hours.
Airline passenger Cindy Glazer says, “At least it’s honest and it’s up front and the compensation for once is something you can count on.” But some consumer advocates like Charlie Leocha of the Consumer Travel Alliance says, “I’m looking forward to getting airline passengers more legal rights. Right now airline passengers have the rights of medieval serfs. We have to petition the department of transportation for anything legal.”
The Transportation Department says it’ll take up to four months for the new regulations to take effect. And by the way, the refund of baggage fees only goes for bags that are lost, not bags that are just delayed. That refund will be in addition to what the airline has to pay you for value of the lost bag and it’s contents.
Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3