One of President Obama‘s final acts in the White House could have a big effect on travellers. Under the Obama Administration, the Transportation Department is proposing that airlines would be required to refund fees when baggage is not delivered within ‘a timely manner.’
At the moment, airlines in the U.S. are required to refund fees for lost luggage, with the newly proposed plan expanding to include returning fees on delayed luggage as well. Now that’s what we call a good law.
An aviation bill passed last summer now requires airlines to refund fees on luggage delayed for more than 12 hours for domestic flights and 15 hours or more for international flights. And if you ask us, fees should be refunded–at least partially–if it’s delayed at all. Ultimately, airlines still have some discretion when it comes to the new regulations, but the bill will hopefully help to provide a more enjoyable travelling experience.
The Executive Order is aiming to create a “more transparent, lower cost and higher quality experience” for the 700 million passengers who board 9 million domestic flights in the U.S. every year.
The bill also includes amendments to help customers compare airlines, with current airline ratings not accurately comparing regional and larger consumer airlines. It includes steps to ensure consumers can easily compare ticket prices, with online ticket websites no longer allowed to favour certain airlines over others. The new bill also requires airlines to report how often they mishandle wheelchairs so that passengers with disabilities can choose the airline best suited to their needs.
A similar move would go a long way in Canada to help ease the high cost of travelling. Not only is Canada the most expensive country to fly internationally from, but the current depressed state of the loonie also makes travelling outside of the country financially impossible for many people. Refunded baggage fees on domestic flights could definitely go a long way to entice travellers to explore Canada–especially since the lack of airline options causes a high ticket price. Imagine not having to deal with all the frustration that comes with lost luggage.
Now if we could just do something about people trying to sneak oversized carry-ons on board.