Thursday, September 29, 2011

Passenger Bill of Rights: What it means for you

The new airline passenger bill of rights was supposed to go into effect around the end of August-- about a month ago.

What is supposed to be different? Well, hopefully there will be no more 8 hour delays on the tarmac. Domestic flights are supposed to have a three hour limit for being stuck on the tarmac, and international flights a four hour limit, before the passengers can deplane.

H.R. 729 states that airline carriers must implement at a minimum a plan for :

1) Essential needs for passengers on aircraft that is delayed taking off or delayed in disembarkation including
  • adequate food and potable water
  • adequate restroom facilities
  • cabin ventilation and comfortable cabin tempertures
  • access to necessary medical treatment
2) The right for passengers to deplane and return to the terminal if:
  • three hours after the passengers have boarded, with cabin doors shut, the aircraft has not taken off, or
  • three hours after landing, the passengers have been unable to deplane
  • these options will be available to passengers at least once during every three hour successive stay on the tarmac
  • exceptions to this are if the pilot determines that letting passengers deplane would jeopardize passenger safety or security, OR, if the pilot determines that the plane will take off, or the passengers will deplane not more than 30 minutes after the three hour delay
Also incuded in the bill is the establishment of a passenger complaint hotline.
Passengers are also supposed to see other developments such as being refunded baggage fees if your luggage is lost, higher compensation if you are bumped from your flight because of overbooking, and to make taxes and fees on airline tickets more visible to purchasers.

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