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New protections for airline passengers take effect

Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 07:20 PM

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New consumer protections went into effect today for airline passengers, including refunds of baggage fees for lost bags, increased compensation for passengers bumped from oversold flights, and greater protections from lengthy tarmac delays.

The U.S. Department of Transportation now requires airlines to disclose all optional fees on their websites, including fees for baggage, meals, canceling or changing reservations, or advanced or upgraded seating.

Passengers subject to short delays because of oversold international flights will receive compensation equal to double the one-way price of their tickets, up to $650, while those subject to longer delays would receive payments of four times the one-way value of their tickets, up to $1,300.

The ban on lengthy tarmac delays established for domestic flights last year now covers the international flights of foreign airlines at U.S. airports, and extends the three-hour tarmac delay limit for domestic flights to flights at small-hub and non-hub airports.

Carriers must also ensure that passengers stuck on the tarmac are provided adequate food and water after two hours, as well as working lavatories and any necessary medical treatment.

Additional measures will take effect Jan. 24, including:

tjackovics@tampatrib.cov 9813) 259-7817

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