Congress working on new airline consumer protections
Feb. 6, 2023 Updated Mon., Feb. 6, 2023 at 12:25 p.m.
Congress is working on new consumer protections for American air travelers after a series of delays and cancellations marred the winter holiday travel period.
According to Reuters.com, the U.S. government is working on measures that would require airlines to pay at least $1,350 to passengers who were denied booking due to an oversold flight and limit how small carriers can design seats.
In addition, officials are looking to provide impacted travelers new rights to sue airlines for unfair practices, as well as receive refunds for any flights that arrived more than an hour late.
Proposed by U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey, the “Passengers’ Bill of Rights and the Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous Fees (FAIR) Act” was designed to protect American travelers.
Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives also introduced the FAIR act, with additional plans to force carriers to provide ticket refunds and alternative transportation for impacted travelers.
As a result of the legislation, Sen. Blumenthal believes airline lobbyists would work to fight the proposals, despite receiving over $54 billion in government assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Government officials said U.S. carriers “lost a lot of credibility” by opposing the new consumer protections. Airlines for America also said the proposal would “drastically decrease competition, leading to a subsequent increase in airfare.”
The bills presented in both houses of Congress would force carriers to disclose the true costs of flying, offer the lowest fares on multi-segment flights, allow passengers to sue airlines for unfair and deceptive practices and eliminate a cap on fines the Department of Transportation can charge for violating consumer protection laws.
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