The U.S. D.O.T. has just announced over a dozen new regulations that it plans to implement in the coming months. And while Airfarewatchdog.com applauds them, here are four other regulations we think they should consider in their next round of regulation.
Schedule change compensation
How about some kind of compensation for schedule changes made long after you bought your ticket? You buy a ticket in April and in October the airline tells you they don't fly that route anymore, but you can buy a new fare on another airline for three times the price or get your money back. Not fair. The original airline should put you on the alternate airline at the same price you paid. Or you buy a nonstop flight but the airline switches you to one making two connections at the same fare, even though it still flies nonstop. A hamburger is not the same as a filet mignon. Or your airline used to fly daily from a city but now only three times a week. Five months after buying your fare and making land arrangements that are non-refundable, you have to buy two nights hotel at your own expense to wait out the next departure home. No. The airline should pay for the hotel.
Bring back Rule 240
Before the airlines were deregulated in 1988, they were required to put passengers on another airline's flight, without extra cost, in the event of a cancellation or severe delay, but only if the alternate flight would get the passenger to their destination faster than the original airline's next flight out. This was codified as "Rule 240" in the airlines' contracts of carriage. Surprisingly, last we checked, United and Alaska Airlines had retained this rule in their contracts, but other airlines have done away with it. Let's bring it back.
Compensation for severe delays
If you're flying from Europe and your flight is delayed due to a cause reasonably within the airline's control, you get compensated (up to 600 Euros if a long haul flight is delayed), even if you're not a citizen of the E.U. Other protections also apply under E.U. rules. It would be nice to have something similar in the U.S.
Better lost baggage compensation on international flights
Many travelers don't realize this, but although they can be compensated up to $3,300 for lost checked bags on domestic flights, the minute they step on board an international flight different rules apply. Many bags are covered only for $9.08 per kilogram of weight, which, if you do the math, is hardly adequate. Let's increase that to a more realistic level.