The Feds require better care for bumped passengers

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Last summer we encouraged you to tell the Feds your views on the bumping game. The Department of Transportation sought comments from the public on its airline compensation rules for passengers who are involuntarily bumped from an oversold flight.

Yesterday, the agency issued its decision, doubling the compensation that airlines pay to travelers who buy tickets but wind up without a seat. The new rules go into effect next month.

How much compensation you will receive will depend on the cost of your fare, the size of your plane, and the length of your involuntary delay. In general, the airlines will be required to pay you double your one-way fare, up to a cap of $400 one-way for short delays for rebooking (meaning two hours) and a cap of $800 one-way for long delays (meaning more than four hours).

For example, if you bought a ticket whose one-way value is $250 and you are bumped from a domestic flight and delayed for more than two hours, you would receive $500 and be flown out on the next available flight.

If you're on another flight within an hour, you get nothing however.

The airlines can continue to offer incentives for travelers to voluntarily give up their seats, without any federal rules about the value of the compensation required.

According to the press release:

The new rule also covers more flights, including those operated with aircraft seating 30 people or more; the current rule covers flights with 60 seats or more. The amount of these payments are determined by the price of the ticket and the length of the delay, and are in addition to the value of the passenger’s ticket, which the flyer can use for alternate transportation or have refunded if not used.


Tell the Feds your views on the bumping game.

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