DOT: Airlines should pay bumped passengers more - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

DOT: Airlines should pay bumped passengers more

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In this Feb. 9, 2010 file photo, an American Airlines passenger checks the departure board for flight delays and cancellations at O'Hare Airport in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching, File) In this Feb. 9, 2010 file photo, an American Airlines passenger checks the departure board for flight delays and cancellations at O'Hare Airport in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Airline passengers would receive as much as $1,300 for being bumped from a flight and would have 24 hours to cancel reservations without penalty under a series of consumer protected proposed Wednesday by the Obama administration.

Currently, airlines must pay up to $800.

The new rule would also require airlines to fully and prominently disclose baggage fees as well as refunds and expense reimbursement when bags are not delivered on time, provide special notice any time baggage fees are increased, and notify passengers buying tickets whether they must pay to check up to two bags.

Price increases after a ticket is purchased would also be prohibited under the proposal. Airlines would also have to give passengers timely notice of flight status changes.

The proposal would extend to foreign airlines a three-hour limit on the time airlines can keep passengers waiting on airport tarmacs. The three-hour limit went into effect for U.S. carriers in April.

Currently, airlines may limit compensation to $400 for involuntary bumping passengers if the carrier arranges substitute transportation scheduled to arrive at the passenger's destination one to two hours after the passenger's original scheduled arrival for domestic flights, or one to four hours for international flights.

They limit compensation to $800 if the substitute transportation is scheduled to arrive more than two hours later for domestic flights, or more than four hours later for international flights.

The proposed rule would increase the limits to $650 and $1,300, respectively, and adjust those limits every two years inflation every two years.

"This administration believes consumers are entitled to strong and effective protections when they fly," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

While acknowledging the financially troubled condition of the airline industry, LaHood said he believes airlines can factor the new rules into their schedules with causing disruptions in service.

James May, president of the Air Transport Association, which represents major carriers, said airlines would evaluate the proposals "with a focus on minimizing potential passenger inconvenience."

Interested parties have up to 60 days to submit comments to the Transportation Department. LaHood estimated the new rules will go into effect some time this fall.

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Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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