Breaking Down the New Airline Regulations

Photo: DonBuciak (Flickr)

This week, airline passengers finally got in the win column with the new US Department of Transportation airline regulations. Officially titled, “Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections #2,” snazzy power point document can be found here, these regulations make purchasing airline tickets much easier and straightforward.

The main benefit coming out of EAPP#2 is the new rule that all taxes and fees must be included in the advertised fare. How many times have we all clicked on an “amazing” deal – Boston to LAX only $200!- and then come to find out with taxes and fees the ticket is really $350? Now, the total fare is the only price, period.

Next, passengers are allowed 24 hours to hold with out payment or cancel a reservation for free, as long as the ticket is bought at least a week before travel. This even applies to the aggregate search sites like Expedia and Hotwire, not just Delta or Jet Blue. Premise being, a hold can be placed on a ticket and then the passenger can keep search for cheaper deals over the next 24 hours.

Ah the dreaded bag fees, EAPP#2 has some rules on this too. Now all baggage fees must be listed on e-tickets, so no one printing out their tickets at home can get shell shocked with baggage fees while checking in. Also, when the ticket is bought, all baggage fees must be disclosed at that time. Little to many people know that different levels of fliers can actually pay different baggage fees. Yet another reason why it’s smart to sign up for loyalty programs before you fly. Finally, your baggage fees apply throughout the entire journey. This matters for some who are switching between regional and national carriers on the same trip, now, regardless of where you check in, your bags cannot be hit twice with fees.

Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections #2 also adds a couple of other little benefits. First, passengers must be notified (via announcement, text, call, email, etc) of any flight delay over 30 minutes. Also, passengers can no longer be automatically be “opted-in” for hidden additional charges like flight insurance when buying a ticket, if you desire these services now you must check the box, it will not be checked for you. Finally, airlines can not increase a ticket price after the ticket is purchased, what you see is what you get.

All changes will be in place by January 27th, 2012.

What do you think of the new changes, making traveling easier?

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