In 2011, the US Department of Transport introduced a series of new regulations to offer greater protection to airline passengers. The intention is to improve the level of service actually delivered at airports and to achieve a better level of transparency on fares before you book. This is a brief summary of the new protections:
1. Lost baggage
If a bag is lost, the airline is required to refund the fee charged for carriage, and to hold that reduced fee on any continuing or return flights. Compensation is also to be paid. Although this is not intended as a substitute for you carrying travel insurance, basic losses should be covered immediately when loss or damage is obvious. Compensation remains payable even if the bag is not lost but merely delayed.
Airlines continue to overbook, especially when cheap air tickets are held, despite the best efforts of regulators worldwide. The new rules double the amount of compensation payable if you are denied a flight. If you cannot be delivered to your intended destination within two hours of the scheduled time, you're entitled to compensation of double the face value of the ticket up to a maximum $650 per ticket. But if the delay is longer, you're entitled to four times the face value of the ticket up to a maximum of $1,300 per air ticket. These compensation amounts will be adjusted to stay in line with inflation every two years.
Applicable charges for providing meals, handling bags and so on must be listed by all airlines on their website. All government fees and taxes must be included in the ticket prices collected. Unless the government fees and taxes rise, the prices cannot be increased after you pay.
If you make a reservation for full-price or cheap air tickets, the quoted prices must be held for at least 24 hours. If you decide to cancel, the airline is not allowed to impose a penalty.
There was no variation of the tarmac delay rules. Secretary LaHood has been satisfied by the improvement in airline's performance although the new rules do require more disclosure on delays and cancellations to improve monitoring of the airlines.