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New Federal Rules Hold Airlines Accountable For Tarmac Waits, Hidden Fees

Expansion Of Passenger Bill Of Rights Met With Optimism
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JFK Airport

Heavy equipment clears snow at JFK Airport on December 27, 2010 (credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New federal rules could mean airlines will soon be paying you.

The skies could become a little friendlier under new federal rules announced Wednesday. The regulations start with baggage fees. If an airline loses your luggage, they’ll have to pay you by reimbursing the fee, reports CBS 2’s Kristin Thorne.

“Well, that’s the least they can do,” one traveler at LaGuardia Airport said.

“Well, I guess it’s a good idea to give back the fee. It would be better to get the bags,” added Lori Hosp of Scarsdale.

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Airlines will have to fork over big bucks if they bump you from your flight because they overbooked, but not because of weather. Passengers will receive twice the price of their ticket and in some cases up to four times the price, depending upon how long the passenger is delayed. The most someone could receive is $1,300.

“Good! I’ll take it. Great, of course,” said George Sigler of Stanhope.

And remember the blizzard from December that stranded some international passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport inside a plane for more than seven hours? That shouldn’t happen again under these new guidelines.

There will be a four-hour time limit for international passengers who have to wait on the tarmac, closely matching the three-hour rule for domestic flights.

Despite all this, some said four hours seems like quite a long time to be stuck on a plane.

“Four hours! That’s ridiculous,” one traveler said.

“Four hours doesn’t seem like a good deal,” another added.

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The new regulations are expected to go into effect around the end of August, so not in time for the summer travel season.

As for those hidden taxes and fees in your ticket, airlines will be required to detail them in visible font on their websites and include the fees in their prices.

“You have to pay for every little thing. You have to pay for snacks, you have to pay for a bag of pretzel, eventually you’ll have to pay to go to the bathroom,” said passenger Jill Dente.

Consumer advocates called the new rules a good start.

“Another thing I’m looking forward to is getting airline passengers more legal rights. Right now airline passengers have the rights of medieval serfs. We have to petition the Department of Transportation for anything legal,” said Charlie Leocha of the Consumer Travel Alliance.

What do you think are the benefits or drawbacks of this change? Leave a comment below…

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