AAPR celebrates new DOT rule on airline passenger protections


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Association for Airline
Passenger Rights (“AAPR”) today celebrated the U.S. Department of
Transportation’s (“DOT”) new airline passenger protections. Building
upon the passenger rights regulations implemented by DOT in 2010, these
new protections encompass lost bags and bag fees, full disclosure of
additional fees, bumping and expansion of the tarmac delay rule. AAPR
submitted comment last year when DOT announced the Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking (“NPRM”), calling for stronger airline passenger
protections, as well as submitted guidance to the Government
Accountability Office regarding the same.

“Secretary LaHood has once again has demonstrated his commitment to
improving the airline industry and enhancing airline passenger rights
with DOT’s new protections,” said Brandon M. Macsata, Executive
Director of the Association for Airline Passenger Rights. “Airline
passengers deserve to know what are the total fares they’re paying,
including ancillary fees; they deserve fair compensation for lost bags,
as well as when oversold flights force them off a flight for which they
purchased a ticket; and they deserve minimum protections when stuck on
the tarmac, regardless whether the flight is operated by a domestic or
foreign carrier. AAPR is proud to have been a part of this historic

AAPR believes that these consumer protections – as well as the
protection extended under the final rule published on December 30,
2009, in which DOT required certain U.S. air carriers “to adopt
contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays; respond to consumer
problems; post flight delay information on their websites; and adopt,
follow, and audit customer service plans” – are long overdue. For over
a decade the airline industry has increasingly ignored the complaints
and concerns expressed by a growing chorus of airline passengers,
especially on domestic flights. U.S. air carriers have placed a greater
emphasis on their profits rather than the comfort, safety and
satisfaction of their customers.

“Airline passengers have a right to be treated fairly,” said Secretary
LaHood in a DOT statement. “It’s just common sense that if an airline
loses your bag or you get bumped from a flight because it was oversold,
you should be reimbursed. The additional passenger protections we’re
announcing today will help make sure air travelers are treated with the
respect they deserve.”

Most provisions of the rule will take effect 120 days after its
publication in the Federal Register. The final rule, NPRM and comments
are available online at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2010-0140.