The United States Department of Transportation has finally warned airlines: Most people don’t like to go for more than 24 hours without brushing their teeth and changing their underwear.
This seems rather intuitive to us. But as airline bottom lines have worsened, even before the recession, airlines began limiting when and under what circumstances they would reimburse travelers for basic items such as clothing and toiletries purchased while waiting around for lost luggage to show up.
[M]any carriers have in recent months reimbursed passengers only for necessities that were purchased more than 24 hours after arrival on the premise that the bag could be located and delivered within that time. What’s more, carriers are limiting the payback only on the outbound leg of the trip.
That would mean a passenger whose bag was lost on a flight from Chicago to New York would have to wait a full day from landing before purchasing mouthwash and a suit for the “big meeting” that next day – if a refund was expected.
“Travelers should not have to pay for toiletries or other necessities while they wait for baggage misplaced by airlines,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.
While we sympathize with airlines’ need to keep costs down, the 24-hour rule is unreasonable, and we’re glad to hear that the DOT has put its collective foot down.