We’ve all been in an airline nightmare at one time or another. Lost bags, delayed flights, and booking a flight just to see airfare drop a few days later. With the holiday season just around the corner, the Obama administration is aiming to make flying a little easier with new executive actions in terms of airline regulations.
The rules call for increased transparency from airlines regarding airfare and delayed flights. Passengers will also receive refunds for baggage that is lost or delayed. The administration said the changes are critical because airline mergers give customers fewer options when booking a flight.
Increasing Airline Competition
Less competition means more pressure on the airlines to provide good customer service. They will need to be open with customers about things like flight delays. More than 700 million people travel on 9 million flights worldwide each year, according to the Department of Transportation.
“These actions will enable passengers to make well-informed decisions when arranging travel, ensure that airlines treat consumers fairly, and give consumers a voice in how airlines are regulated,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.
Passengers may be eligible for refunds if bags are delivered 12 to 18 hours after the scheduled arrival of a domestic flight or 15 to 30 hours after an international flight. Airlines must also be better about reporting the status of delayed flights. This especially applies to smaller, regional flights operated by subsidiaries of the major airlines.
Eliminating Bias With New Airline Regulations
Online travel booking sites will be required to disclose any bias they may have to one airline over another. Airlines will also have to be more upfront about hidden fees associated with plane tickets.
The executive orders may also provide better service to passengers with disabilities. Airlines will now be required to report how many times they mishandled wheelchairs.
But Will the Changes Stick?
The changes are expected to go into effect in 2018, so airlines have plenty of time to figure out how they are going to implement them. Depending on the outcome of the presidential election, the executive actions could be overturned before they ever leave the ground. Just like a delayed flight.