Airline Passenger Bill of Rights – All Spelled Out

Ever wonder if as an airline passenger you have any power in the air travel system? You do indeed, and thanks to the Dept. of Transportation, it’s all spelled out in their handy airline passenger bill of rights’ publication called, “Fly-Rights, A Consumer Guide to Air Travel“.

Don’t forget that you also have the right to find a good flight deal from your airport with FareCompare.

Airline Passenger Rights: 3-Hour Rule

The best nuggets of information talk about airline passenger rights as they pertain to the recent 3 Hour Rule – meaning, flights cannot idle on the tarmac awaiting take-off for more than three hours. They must return to the gate or the airlines face steep fines.

Passenger Complaints

The airline passenger bill of rights also addresses the frustration that passengers have faced with responses to complaints. Now the airlines are required to respond to complaints.

Rights for the Bumped

The guide also spells out your rights if you’re involuntarily bumped from a flight. You have the right to get your compensation in cash. Unfortunately, involuntary bumping happens but it’s not as bad as it used to be. If you haven’t already done so, read FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney’s blog post about your odds of being bumped from a plane vs. your odds of dating a supermodel.

Travel Tips Too

Much of the guide is actually a primer on the basics of smart airfare shopping . In fact, some of the info sounds like the authors carefully pored over tips for getting cheap flights from FareCompare (“be flexible in your travel plans in order to get the lowest fare”).

You’ll also find packing tips like the ones we tell you about (pack light and pack no valuables in checked-bags), and information on how to choose a frequent flier program. The guide even provides tips about what to do in a plane crash.

The Department of Transportation provides more helpful links (like where to get proper complaint forms) and information on ordering hard copies.


Published: September 1, 2010