You are here

Air Consumer

Bumping & Oversales

Bumping

The vast majority of the time, passengers don’t have any problems boarding their flights.  But occasionally, airlines may “bump” passengers and have them give up their seats.  Bumping, also known as “denied boarding,” happens when there are more passengers scheduled to fly on an airplane than available seats. 

Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Final Rule: Use of Electronic Cigarettes on Aircraft

The Department of Transportation is issuing a final rule to extend the smoking ban in 14 CFR Part 252 to include all charter (i.e., nonscheduled) flights where a flight attendant is a required crewmember. The revised Part 252 would comport with 49 U.S.C. § 41706, which was revised in 2012, to ban smoking on charter flights where a flight attendant is a required crewmember. This final rule also explicitly bans the use of electronic cigarettes (“e-cigarettes”) on all flights where smoking is banned. The Department interprets the existing Part 252 to prohibit e-cigarette use, but is codifying this interpretation.

Disclosure of charges for checked baggage

This notice is intended to give guidance to air carriers and foreign air carriers on disclosure of carrier baggage policies and associated fees in connection with checked baggage. The general industry practice until recently has been to allow passengers two free checked bags, generally of up to 50 or 70 pounds each. Several air carriers have recently adopted policies of charging passengers an amount, in addition to the fare already paid, for any checked baggage or for more than one checked bag. Some of these policies imposing charges for checking a second bag add $25 to the cost of a passenger’s trip while others may add far greater amounts for checking a single bag, either because it is overweight or because the carrier has different fares based on whether a passenger checks bags and the number he or she checks. A number of others have announced plans to implement similar policies.

Baggage liability on international codeshare trips

This notice is intended to give guidance to U.S. and foreign air carriers on two tariff matters: first, tariffs relating to liability for lost, stolen, delayed or damaged baggage carried on international itineraries; and second, tariffs that appear to assign responsibility, in code-share service, to the operating carrier rather than the selling carrier (i.e., the carrier shown on the ticket).

Response to petition to delay the effective date of 14 CFR 399.85(c) and 399.87

By this order, we are denying the petition of the Air Transport Association (now Airlines for America), the International Air Transport Association, the Regional Airline Association, the Air Carrier Association of America, and the Association of European Airlines (AEA) (collectively Associations) to delay the effectiveness of 14 CFR 399.85(c) and 399.87 for the reasons discussed below but also announcing that the Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings has decided, for a short period of time, to apply its enforcement discretion in monitoring compliance with these provisions.

April 2011 Powerpoint presentation summarizing baggage provisions

No carrier may impose any contract of carriage provision containing a choice-of-forum clause that attempts to preclude a passenger or a purchaser from bringing a claim against a carrier in any court of competent jurisdiction, including a court within the jurisdiction of that passenger’s residence in the United States (provided that the carrier does business within that jurisdiction).

April 2011 Amedment Federal Register Version

The Department of Transportation is issuing a final rule to improve the air travel environment for consumers by: Increasing the number of carriers that are required to adopt tarmac delay contingency plans and the airports at which they must adhere to the plan’s terms; increasing the number of carriers that are required to report tarmac delay information to the Department; expanding the group of carriers that are required to adopt, follow, and audit customer service plans and establishing minimum standards for the subjects all carriers must cover in such plans; adding carriers to those required to include their contingency plans and customer service plans on\ their websites; increasing the number of carriers that must respond to consumer complaints; enhancing protections afforded passengers in oversales situations, including increasing the maximum denied boarding compensation airlines must pay to passengers bumped from flights; strengthening, codifying and clarifying the Department’s enforcement policies concerning air transportation price advertising practices; requiring carriers to notify consumers of optional fees related to air transportation and of increases in baggage fees; prohibiting post-purchase price increases; requiring carriers to provide passengers timely notice of flight status changes such as delays and cancellations; and prohibiting carriers from imposing unfair contract of carriage choice-offorum provisions. The Department is taking this action to strengthen the rights of air travelers in the event of oversales, flight cancellations and delays, ensure that passengers have accurate and adequate information to make informed decisions when selecting flights, prohibit unfair and deceptive practices such as postpurchase price increases and contract of carriage choice-of-forum provisions, and to ensure responsiveness to consumer complaints.

Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections

The Department of Transportation is issuing a final rule to improve the air travel environment for consumers by: increasing the number of carriers that are required to adopt tarmac delay contingency plans and the airports at which they must adhere to the plan’s terms; increasing the number of carriers that are required to report tarmac delay information to the Department; expanding the group of carriers that are required to adopt, follow, and audit customer service plans and establishing minimum standards for the subjects all carriers must cover in such plans; adding carriers to those required to include their contingency plans and customer service plans on their websites;  increasing the number of carriers that must respond to consumer complaints;  enhancing protections afforded passengers in oversales situations, including increasing the maximum denied boarding compensation airlines must pay to passengers bumped from flights; strengthening, codifying and clarifying the Department’s enforcement policies concerning air transportation price advertising practices; requiring carriers to notify consumers of optional fees related to air transportation and of increases in baggage fees; prohibiting post-purchase price increases; requiring carriers to provide passengers timely notice of flight status changes such as delays and cancellations; and prohibiting carriers from imposing unfair contract of carriage choice-of-forum provisions.   The Department is taking this action to strengthen the rights of air travelers in the event of oversales, flight cancellations and delays, ensure that passengers have accurate and adequate information to make informed decisions when selecting flights, prohibit unfair and deceptive practices such as post-purchase price increases and contract of carriage choice-of-forum provisions, and to ensure responsiveness to consumer complaints. 

Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections: Baggage and other consumer issue, December 2009 rule

The Department of Transportation is issuing a final rule to enhance airline passenger protections in the following ways: by requiring air carriers to adopt contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays and to publish those plans on their websites; by requiring air carriers to respond to consumer problems; by deeming continued delays on a flight that is chronically late to be unfair and deceptive in violation of 49 U.S.C. §41712; by requiring air carriers to publish information on flight delays on their websites; and by requiring air carriers to adopt customer service plans, to publish those plans on their websites, and audit their own compliance with their plans.  The Department took this action on its own initiative in response to the many instances when passengers have been subject to delays on the airport tarmac for lengthy periods and also in response to the high incidence of flight delays and other consumer problems.

Honoring tickets of insolvent airlines

The purpose of this notice is to clarify the obligation of airlines under section 145 of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (“Act”) to provide transportation to passengers of airlines that have ceased operations due to insolvency or bankruptcy.  (P.L. 107-71, 115 Stat. 645 (November 19, 2001).)  This notice is needed because of numerous consumer complaints received by the Department regarding the treatment of passengers holding Vanguard Airline tickets by other airlines in the wake of Vanguard’s July 30, 2002, cessation of operations.

Submit Feedback >