Part of what sucks about flying is checking your bag. Aside from paying the stupid bag fee, part of what sucks about checking your bag is the very real possibility of the airline delaying or losing your bag. So, not only did you pay, but you paid for a poor service. Well, the Obama administration says that it’s time to start changing that.
Executive actions and new proposed rules, which the government plans to adopt, are being aimed at improving airline customer experiences, reports Bloomberg, in order to make the system more fair to consumers. And within those proposals is a rule that would require airlines to refund travelers their checked bag fees if the bags arrive late. Per Bloomberg:
“We are committed to a system of fair treatment and fair play for the 700 million passengers that will board 9 million domestic flights this year,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at a White House briefing. “These new protections will do just that.”
The combination of executive actions and proposed rule changes are the third major effort at improving air-passenger consumer protections by the Obama administration. Some of the consumer measures would take effect soon while others, including the late-baggage proposal, may take more than a year.
Predictably, some airlines weren’t too happy about this.
Nicholas Calio, chief executive officer of Airlines for America, a trade group that represents most large carriers, told Bloomberg:
“Consumers have multiple information sources independent of airline sites. Efforts designed to re-regulate how airlines distribute their products and services are bad for airline customers, employees, the communities we serve and our overall U.S. economy.”
But for us travelers, it doesn’t sound too bad. Reimbursement from the airline for the checked bag fee if a bag gets lost already exists, but under these new rules, even a “substantially delayed” bag could warrant a fee refund. Though, how substantial that delay is is still undefined, as the Los Angeles Times points out.
Getting your luggage lost sucks all seven days of the week, but if these rules go through, it could make standing around that empty luggage carousel a little more bearable.