Airline Baggage Fees: Should Airlines Repay Passengers For Lost Luggage?

lost luggage

iogi, flickr

The U.S. government is finally stepping in to assist travelers frustrated with the state of airline customer service in this country. The Department of Transportation is proposing a new rule: Airlines will be required to refund baggage fees if luggage is lost or significantly delayed.

As it stands now, passengers can ask for a fee refund as part of a lost-property claim. But there's no compensation for those whose baggage has been delayed. (Or ends up being sold.)

Two airlines – Alaska Airlines and Delta – do provide credits for delayed baggage, provided passengers file a claim form.

The major airlines are making $3.3 billion annually in bag fees, reports the Associated Press.

Addressing complaints of poor service and exploding fees in the airline industry, the DOT also wants to make airlines pay passengers more when they're bumped from a flight, allow penalty-free reservation cancellation within 24 hours of booking and require better disclosure of fees and surcharges.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has already implemented rules meant to protect passengers, like last year's limitation on how long passengers can sit on planes during ground delays.

Details of the new rule will be released later this month. No implementation timeline has been set.

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