For Immediate Release
Contact: Kate Hanni (707) 337-0328

Landmark Protections in new DOT rule for airline Passengers Culminates 4 year Struggle to Achieve Common Sense Measures for Consumers

New “Sustainable” Policy Also Proven to Enhance Operational Performance and Efficiency

Napa, CA 4-19-2011: The promulgation of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) final rule today that will dramatically enhance airline passenger’s rights could not come too soon for air travelers. The new rules represent the most comprehensive guidelines and protections for airline passengers in the history of the DOT.

“These new rules represent a sea change in terms of how airline consumers are treated and how airlines operate—they are the product of relentless grassroots advocacy by everyday people from across the country that make up the Flyers Rights movement” said Kate Hanni, President and Founder of FlyersRights.org. “Today’s victory proves that ordinary people, if energized and organized, can still triumph over powerful corporate interests in Washington D.C.”

“The DOT’s own data proves that Passenger Bill of Rights protections, including the ‘Three Hour Rule’ have actually made airlines more efficient and have not created delays and cancellations as was predicted by the airlines,” added Hanni. “Just as the Three Hour Rule has achieved, today’s rule will pay both immediate and long term dividends to a wider range of flyers while making air travel more accessible, accountable and transparent—thereby promoting the long term financial health of the industry.”

The new rules provide:
• Transparency for unbundled fees so that passengers can make apples to apples comparisons
• Increase the bumping compensation from $400-$800 to $650-$1300
• Refunds of Baggage Fees if your baggage is lost
• Disclosure of Bumping compensation at the Gate to both voluntary and
involuntarily bumped passengers
• International flights must report tarmac delays
• International flights are now included in the tarmac delay rule

The Legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration is close to completion by U.S. Congress. The U.S. House version of this legislation does not contain Passenger Bill of Rights provisions, however the Senate version does. In the coming weeks, the two bodies will work to reconcile their two bills into one final bill, pass it and send it to the President for signature.

“We applaud President Obama, Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt for listening to all the stakeholders, including consumers, and taking the affirmative steps to protect both customers and the long term viability of the industry by making these common sense measures a reality, said Hanni. “Now our focus turns to Congress to ensure the Passenger Bill of Rights is made permanent through legislation.”

FlyersRights.org is the largest non-profit airline passenger’s rights group in the world with 33,000 members Nationwide. Toll free hotline 1-877-359-3776.

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