Airlines warned on limits for lost bag payments


WASHINGTON — Airlines shouldn’t be too cheap when it comes to helping customers whose bags are lost.

The Transportation Department said Friday airlines can’t arbitrarily limit reimbursement for travelers who have to replace necessities when bags are lost or delayed.

eTN Chatroom: Discuss with readers from around the world:

The department noted that several airlines have policies saying they’ll only reimburse passengers for necessities purchased more than 24 hours after they arrive without their baggage. They also limit payments to outbound trips, meaning customers foot the bill for replacing items lost on the flight back home.

The agency said those policies violate federal rules requiring airlines to cover all expenses caused by lost or delayed baggage up to $3,300 per passenger on domestic flights.

The Transportation Department said it would monitor the situation for 90 days and then take enforcement action against airlines that don’t comply. The agency said it fined an airline last month for providing compensation only on outbound trips and only for items bought more than 24 hours after arrival.