Have you ever boarded a flight heading out on vacation, and get to your destination only to find that the airline has “lost” your bags? Ever been told that your flight was “oversold”, and therefore you were “bumped”? Bummer!
Good news! Air travelers were given better protection against these issues a few weeks ago when Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that, “Airline passengers have a right to be treated fairly.” Secretary LaHood went on to state, “It is 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.” Finally air travelers will be getting compensated for lost luggage and missed flights!
New regulations become effective this August requiring airlines to reimburse passengers for lost baggage fees, and will provide travelers who are involuntarily ‘bumped’ from flights with greater compensation. In addition, there will be an expansion on the current ban on lengthy tarmac delays; and hidden fees that were not formerly disclosed by the airlines to its customers will be eliminated. New rules will also require U.S. airlines to provide basic services, such as access to lavatories and water, in the event of an extended tarmac delay.
Currently, ‘bumped’ passengers are entitled to cash, up to $400.00, if the airline can get them to the destination in a short period of time. In August 2011 this will be increased to $800.00. For those facing even longer delays, the maximum compensation will increase from $650.00 to $1300.00, which will be indexed for inflation.
If the airline loses your bags, you will be reimbursed for bag fees, and you will be able to make a claim for the contents of your lost luggage.
Donald M. Maciejewski, Esq.
Board Certified Aviation Law Attorney