New Airline Bumping and Fee Rules Proposed

The rules offer a blanket of consumer protections, including increasing compensation for passengers involuntarily bumped from flights.

An American Airlines subsidiary, American Eagle, was the most likely to bump passengers in the quarter ended March 31, followed by US Airways, Continental Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. JetBlue Airways, which does not operate in Philadelphia, was the least likely to bounce passengers without their permission.

The Transportation Department wants airlines to be more accountable for seats they oversell. Airlines are allowed to sell more tickets than they have seats for because they rely on passengers, particularly business travelers with refundable tickets, not to show up for flights.

Proposed Air Travel Rules

Increase compensation for involuntary bumping

from the current range of $400-$800 to $650-$1,300, depending on the delay.

Allow passengers to get a refund for canceling reservations within 24 hours.

Require full and prominently displayed disclosure of baggage fees as well as refunds and reimbursements when bags are not delivered on time.

Require full-fare prices in advertising (indicating ticket costs including all fees and taxes).

Prohibit price increases after a ticket is purchased.

Mandate timely notice of flight status changes.

Subject foreign airlines to tarmac-delay rules.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation

Bump Rate

Passengers denied boarding, for selected airlines, per 10,000 passengers, in the first three months of 2010:

American Eagle 4.59

US Airways 2.96

Continental 2.73

Southwest 2.59

United 1.92

American 1.28

Delta 0.63

SOURCE: U.S. Department

of Transportation

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