New Airline Passenger Protection Regulations Go Into Effect This Week

The Department of Transportation is reminding flyers to be aware of new regulations regarding its Enhancing Passenger Protections rule – regulations that will go into effect this week.

Despite Confusion, Airfare Ad Changes Will Happen

Wide-Reaching New Rules for Airfare Ads

The big change, which will probably be instantly noticeable to airfare shoppers, is the requirement that any published airfares – meaning, fares advertised by airlines, tickets agents or any entity – include all mandatory taxes and fees.

What this will mean is that the fares you see beginning Thursday will look considerably higher than the prices quoted in ads from earlier in the week – but the new fares will show what a flyer has to pay for airfare upfront, instead waiting until the end of the booking process for the total price including various government fees.

Taxes, Fees Not Always ‘Obvious’ to Consumers

In recent years, airlines have been required to note that airfares will ultimately include mandatory taxes and fees, but the DOT decided to opt for even more transparency because these additional charges are “not always obvious to consumers.”

The 5 Worst Airline Fees of All Time

Optional Fees Won’t Be Included in Ads

However, you will still have to add-on the price of any optional extras you choose, such preferred seating or early boarding fees.

Look for the new advertising provision to take effect Jan. 26.

Changes in Baggage Fee Visibility

Other changes that will affect passengers’ online shopping experience and checked-baggage fees go into effect tomorrow, Jan. 24. According to the DOT, “the first screen containing a fare quotation for a specific itinerary must show if there will be additional baggage fees, and inform consumers where they can go to see these fees.”

U.S. Airline Fee Chart – Learn What You’ll Pay Before You Fly

Other Changes to Look For

Some of the other new regulations that will also go into effect Jan. 24 have already been adopted by some airlines, but not all. Changes include:

  • Reservations can be held for 24 hours without payment
  • Reservations can be canceled within 24 hours without penalty (if made 7 days before departure)
  • Passengers must be notified promptly of flight delays longer than 30 minutes

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Published: January 23, 2012