Passenger protection boost
June 24th, 2011 by jason

Compensation for passengers bumped off over-booked flights in the USA is to be increased. New laws due this August will also make airlines reimburse passengers for lost luggage and aim to shorten delays before takeoff.

“Airline passengers have a right to be treated fairly,” said US transport secretary Ray LaHood, adding that passengers deserve more respect. When the new rules take effect, passengers who are refused entry to a flight despite having a valid reservation will be entitled to between $650 and $1,330, up from the previous $600 maximum.

Airlines will have to include taxes and fees in their prices and clearly display any potential extra charges on their websites. They will also be fined heavily if they keep passengers on an international flight sitting on the tarmac for more than four hours.

Meanwhile, back in the UK transport minister Theresa Villiers said that by 2013 scheduled airlines could be forced to offer the same ATOL financial protection against the airline going bust that charter airline passengers currently enjoy.

The Government is already reforming the ATOL scheme, with the first upgrade due next year when it will be extended to cover travel agents who put together their own packages. But protection against scheduled airlines going out of business would be far more radical, requiring new legislation.

“We are looking at wider reform for ATOLs to see if there is a possibility of bringing scheduled airlines into the scheme,” said Mrs Villiers, adding that any new legislation would have to wait until 2012/13.


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