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U.S. Department of Transportation Seeks to Provide Clarity on Unfair and Deceptive Practices in Aviation Consumer Protection

Thursday, February 20, 2020

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced that it is seeking public comment on a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to clarify the definition of “unfair and deceptive practices” by airlines and ticket agents in air transportation.  Most of the Department’s aviation consumer protection regulations, such as the Department’s tarmac delay rule and rules on overbooking, are based on the Department’s authority to prohibit unfair or deceptive practices.

“This proposal is intended to provide greater clarity in the interpretation of what constitutes unfair or deceptive practices; we look forward to the public’s comments,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Today’s NPRM would benefit the public and regulated entities by providing more clarity and certainty of what constitutes an unfair or deceptive practice, and by describing the Department’s process for making such a determination.  It would also codify the practice of offering airlines and ticket agents the opportunity to be heard and to present relevant evidence before the Department takes any enforcement action for an alleged unfair or deceptive practice.

This proposal will help ensure that the Department’s enforcement practices and regulations stay within the scope of the Department’s statutory authority. Comments on the NPRM must be received within 60 days of the date the notice being published in the Federal Register.  The NPRM can be found at, docket number DOT-OST-2019-0182.