DOT Says Airlines Must Provide Flight Totals Upfront
For travelers, this week ushers in an exciting era of travel pricing. New regulations from the April 2011 Department of Transportation consumer rule went into effect on Thursday, requiring a few much needed changes.
Airlines and ticket agents are now required to “include all mandatory taxes and fees” in advertised prices. Baggage fees must also be disclosed on the first screen that provides specific flight pricing information. Airlines must also include baggage pricing information on e-ticket confirmations.
Airlines and travel experts have warned that the higher pricing may deter travelers. I’m not buying it! There is nothing worse than spending a month eyeing plane tickets, and when you finally think you’re scored a deal, the total price turns out to be three times more than the prior screen disclosed. I prefer my heartbreak upfront.
Potential customers can hold a reservation without charge and cancel without penalty for 24 hours after the reservation is made, if the reservation is made a week or more before the flight’s scheduled departure date.
Airlines are responsible for promptly alerting customers if their flights are delayed for over 30 minutes, and if the flight is cancelled or diverted. Increasing ticket prices after purchase will also be prohibited.
Regulations that Took Place Earlier
A few provisions of this consumer rule took place last year. These included requiring airlines to refund baggage fees if baggage is lost. That seemed like a no brainer to me. Also, airlines will provide bumped customers with increased compensation.
Time spent sitting on the tarmac has been limited to four hours for international flights at U.S. airports, and the three hour delay for domestic flights now includes small airports.
As someone who travels frequently, these new rules are a welcome improvement to airline policy.