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Air Consumer

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.

Honoring tickets of insolvent airlines, add'l information

The Department issued a notice on August 8, 2002, providing guidance for airlines and the traveling public regarding the obligation of airlines under section 145 of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (“Act”) to transport passengers of airlines that have ceased operations due to insolvency or bankruptcy.  (P.L. 107-71, 115 Stat. 645 (November 19, 2001))  That notice, which was issued after Vanguard Airlines’ July 2002 cessation of service, was intended to provide immediate guidance in response to numerous complaints from ticketed passengers and inquiries from airlines.  On November 6, 2002, National Airlines ceased operations.  The purpose of this notice is to remind carriers that the provisions of section 145 also apply to National Airlines’ cessation of service.

Honoring tickets of insolvent information: more information

On November 14, 2002, the Department of Transportation issued a notice providing guidance for airlines and the traveling public regarding the obligation of airlines under section 145 of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, P.L. 107-71, 115 Stat. 645 (November 19, 2001) (“Act”), to transport passengers of airlines that have ceased operations due to insolvency or bankruptcy.  That notice, issued after National Airlines’ November 6, 2002, cessation of operations, followed a similar notice issued August 8, 2002, after Vanguard Airlines’ July 2002 cessation of service.  Both notices were intended to provide immediate guidance in response to numerous complaints from ticketed passengers and inquiries from airlines.  In addition, the November 14 notice also requested comments from airlines and the traveling public about the cost to carriers of transporting passengers of carriers that had ceased operations.  The purpose of this notice is to respond to those comments. 

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