The airlines are using smaller planes to save money, while they also overbook their flights. The result? About 760,000 passengers will be bumped from their flights this year, the highest number since 2002.
Federal officials want to hike the fee airlines have to pay passengers for bumping them off an oversold flight against their wishes.
Today, most bumped fliers who get to their destination less than two hours later than planned should get the value of their one-way ticket back, up to about $400 in cash. Delayed much longer? You'll get up to $800.
The Obama administration wants to raise those caps, to $650 for two-hour delays and up to $1,300 for lengthy delays.
Other proposed changes:
Give passengers 24 hours to cancel reservations after purchasing a ticket, without paying a fee.
Require airlines to clearly tell ticket buyers what the baggage fees are.
Require airlines to give fliers timely flight status updates.
Require foreign airlines, not just U.S.-owned airlines, to obey the "three-hour limit," which limits how long passengers can wait on airport tarmacs during delayed take-offs.
If you want to read the rules and submit comments, do so by visiting the new Regulations.gov site's page on the topic: by clicking here. If that seems too complicated, you should instead visit Regulation Room is a pilot project of the Cornell E-rulemaking Initiative. It's privately run, but it works with Federal agencies, including DoT.