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Traveling by air this summer? DOT has your back.

Traveling by air this summer? DOT has your back.

If you’re traveling by air this summer, or any time of year, DOT wants you to be aware of the airline passenger protections in place that will ensure that you are treated fairly.

DOT has launched an airline passenger microsite to make it easy for travelers to understand their rights.  The site includes information on tarmac delays, ticketing, fees, bumping, and more.  And if you have an issue before, during, or after your flight, you can file a complaint with the Department here.

Here are some of the Department’s airline passenger protections: 

Tarmac Delays

On arriving flights, airlines are prohibited from allowing an aircraft to remain on the tarmac at a U.S. airport for more than three hours on domestic flights and more than four hours on international flights without giving passengers an opportunity to leave the plane.  On departing flights, airlines are prohibited from allowing an aircraft to remain on the tarmac at a U.S. airport for more than three hours on domestic flights and more than four hours on international flights without beginning the process of returning to a suitable disembarkation point to deplane passengers.  Exceptions to the time limits are allowed only for safety, security, or air traffic control-related reasons. 

Airlines are also required to provide adequate food and water, ensure that lavatories are working, provide passengers with notifications regarding the status of the tarmac delay and, if necessary, provide medical attention during long tarmac delays. 

24-Hour Grace Period for Ticket Reservations

Airlines must either allow passengers to hold a reservation without payment, or cancel a booking without penalty for 24 hours after the reservation is made if the reservation is made one week or more prior to a flight’s departure date. 

Lost Bags and Bag Fees

If a passenger’s bag is lost, airlines are required to refund any fee for carrying the bag.

Bumping

In the event that a passenger is involuntarily bumped from an oversold flight, he or she is entitled to compensation that is based on the price of their ticket, the length of time that they are delayed in getting to their destination because of being denied boarding, and whether their flight is a domestic flight or an international flight leaving from the United States.

Most bumped passengers who experience short delays on flights will receive compensation equal to double the one-way price of the flight they were bumped from, up to $675.  Passengers experiencing longer delays on flights would receive payments of four times the one-way value of the flight they were bumped from, up to $1,350.   Airlines are to free to offer more money than required to passengers involuntary denied boarding.

Now, these are just some of the sensible protections that are in effect.  Please take a minute to read about your rights as an air traveler, and have a great flight!

AIRLINE PASSENGERS BILL OF RIGHTS

  1. The right to be treated fairly, regardless of your race, sex, color, ancestry, or religion, or disability.
  2. The right to know the full ticket price before you buy a ticket and that the price will not increase after purchase. 
  3. The right to a full and prompt refund if your flight is cancelled or significantly delayed, even if your ticket is “non-refundable.”
  4. The right to have 24 hours to either cancel your airline ticket without penalty or hold your reservation without payment if the flight is more than one week away.
  5. The right to receive compensation in cash or its equivalent within 24 hours if you are bumped from a flight against your will.
  6. The right to be promptly notified if your flight is delayed or cancelled.
  7. The right to not be stuck on the tarmac at a U.S. airport for a lengthy period of time.
  8. The right to be reimbursed if your baggage is lost, damaged, pilfered, or delayed.
  9. The right to receive a substantive and prompt response if you file a written complaint with an airline.
  10. The right to know before you buy a ticket which airline will operate your flight if it is different from the airline that is advertising the flight.

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