Condé Nast Traveler

It’s a frustration that many frequent fliers know—that sinking feeling when your flight safely arrives at its vacation spot, however your checked bag is nowhere to be discovered.

Now, federal regulators are working to ease at the very least a few of the irritation of this all too frequent state of affairs. Under a brand new proposed rule from the Department of Transportation, U.S. airways would have to refund travelers’ fees when checked luggage are considerably delayed. 

Current laws say that airways are solely compelled to refund passenger bag charges when checked baggage is misplaced. Under the brand new guidelines, fliers would get their a reimbursement when luggage are delayed past 12 hours for domestic flights and past 25 hours for worldwide flights.

If handed, the brand new rule could be a serious win for shoppers. In latest years, airways have steadily raised fees for checked baggage, with the common value for the primary checked bag clocking in at $30. U.S. airways made a collective $5.7 billion off bag charges in 2019—making baggage one of many trade’s most profitable expenses. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, practically 2 million luggage had been reported as mishandled by airways in 2018, the newest yr for which knowledge is offered.

“After years of the powerful airline industry getting everything it wants at the expense of consumers, the actions by the administration and U.S. Department of Transportation are a long-awaited breath of fresh air for the flying public,” Kevin Mitchell, chairman and founding father of the Business Travel Coalition, mentioned in a statement.

But it is not simply bag refunds that airways might now be on the hook for: The proposed rule additionally would require air carriers refund funds for different ancillary companies that they do not ship on. This would come with charges for perks like Wi-Fi entry or advance seat selection—companies that fliers may pay for, however the airways do not find yourself offering ultimately.

“Consumers deserve to receive the services they pay for or to get their money back when they don’t,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a release. The DOT’s proposal is open for a 60-day public comment period before regulators decide on a final action.

The new rules were officially proposed on July 9, the same day President Biden signed a vast executive order to promote competition in the U.S. economy, including in the airline industry. As part of the executive order, Biden also instructed the DOT to enhance “consumer access to airline flight information so that consumers can more easily find a broader set of available flights, including by new or lesser known airlines.”

Biden’s order additionally tells the DOT to submit a report on its progress in investigating airways that engaged in deceptive practices round refunds for canceled flights in the course of the pandemic. 


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