ConsumerWatch: New Protections Rolled Out For Air Travelers

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Travelers At SFO

Passengers wait in line at a ticket counter at San Francisco International Airport. (CBS)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – This week, new rules issued by the Department of Transportation will go into effect that will further protect passenger rights.

The latest provisions require airlines and other ticket sellers to disclose all fees associated with ticket prices upfront, meaning even advertised prices need to include fees and taxes.

Flyers will also have the right to hold a reservation without payment or be able to cancel a ticket for a full refund as long as it is within the first 24 hours of purchase and bought at least a week ahead of time.

Along with that, when booking, airlines must now disclose baggage fees within one click of your online fare quote.

Passengers must also be notified promptly if a flight is canceled or delayed more than half an hour and ticket fares cannot be raised after a ticket is bought unless there is written consent from the customer.

While this all sounds great for consumers, some say the changes will do more harm than good.

Perry Flint of the International Air Transport Association said the new ruling will only allow the government to “hide the massive amounts of taxes it puts on airline tickets.”

Flint argued that the DOT did not do enough cost benefit analysis before implementing the rules and will consequently unfairly penalize the airline industry and take away their “commercial free speech.”

At the other end, travel attorney Al Anolik said these types of regulations are long overdue.

“Consumers have been complaining for years, we can’t get a consumer rights bill through the legislator so the DOT said ‘I’m going to give you consumers some rights,’”Anolik said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

 

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