The Obama Administration has proposed new "rights" for airline passengers that will likely go into effect this fall. Among the changes:
- The maximum limit for Involuntary Denied Boarding compensation would increase from $800 to $1,300 and award tickets would now be eligible for this compensation
- Passengers would have 24 hours to cancel airline tickets after purchase (already an option on most U.S. airlines)
- Fees, like baggage charges, must be clearly disclosed and could not be increased once a ticket was purchased
I remain skeptical that these measures are a legitimate government intrusion into the airline market. I do think it is in the best interests of an airline carrier, however, to immediately implement at least #2 and #3 above. As for #1, overbooking airline flights is an art and it does not always turn out pretty. I’m willing to risk an IDB in exchange for the cheaper prices I pay for my airline tickets.
Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights.org, a nonprofit passenger rights group, said airline executives need to worry about the rights of passengers over their profit margins.
"We should not be concerned about them being profitable or not profitable," she said. "Ultimately, we are the biggest stakeholder in the [airline] companies."
What logic! I’m not even going to comment further.
And then there’s the issue of peanuts:
The federal agency is also considering how to accommodate airline passengers with peanut allergies. It asked for public comments on several options, including whether to ban peanuts from flights with passengers requesting a "peanut-free" flight in advance.
Are we going to ban all airline food as well because its too salty and clogs the arteries?