U.S. unveils rules to protect air passengers
LOS ANGELES — If an airline delays returning your luggage after a flight, you will get a refund for your bag fee, under a new set of consumer-protection rules the Obama administration plans to adopt.
Among other changes, the administration is calling on airlines to more accurately report on-time arrival rates, the number of times wheelchair requests are fumbled and the rate of lost or mishandled luggage.
The regulations announced Wednesday are part of an effort that began when the Obama administration first took office and vowed to impose tough consumer protection rules on the country’s airlines.
“The travel community is grateful that the administration continues to shine a light on many of the more frustrating issues that ail the air travel experience,” Roger Dow, chief executive of the U.S. Travel Association, the trade group for the nation’s travel industry, said about the new rules.
But a trade group for the nation’s airlines warned that too many regulations could backfire and not achieve the desired results.
“Efforts designed to reregulate how airlines distribute their products and services are bad for airline customers, employees, the communities we serve and our overall U.S. economy,” said Nicholas Calio, president and chief executive of Airlines for America.
Airlines are already re- quired by the Department of Transportation to reimburse checked bag fees if a bag is lost. Under the new rules, airlines would have to refund the fees if a bag is “substantially delayed,” though the term has yet to be defined.
The new reporting requirements will take effect Jan. 1, 2018; the other regulations will take effect 30 days after the changes are published in the Federal Register.