While instances of “mishandled baggage” are at the lowest levels for domestic airlines since 1987, when the Department of Transportation started tracking those numbers, the government seems to be flirting with the idea of making things even better for passengers. Perhaps with say, a little cash for a ridiculously delayed bag. All in favor say “heck, yeah!”
ABC News cites a June 14 report from the United States Government Accountability Office which says the agency is working on figuring out whether there should be rules to compensate travelers for luggage delayed for unreasonable lengths of time, and how it would go about regulating that.
One problem is that data from the DOT doesn’t differentiate between types of mishandled bags, so there’s no way to separate the lost bags from the delayed or damaged ones. The DOT requires airlines to hand over cash for lost bags, but not those that are simply delayed. A few airlines reimburse passengers with vouchers if a bag is delayed for more than 12 hours.
A June 14 report from the United States Government Accountability Office suggests exploring options for reimbursing airline passengers for bags that are “unreasonably” delayed.
There are three options on the table –Â keep current regulations, reimburse checked baggage fee if a bag is delayed or compensate travelers based on how long the bag was delayed.
As things stand now, the DOT requires airlines to compensate up to $3,300 for expenses incurred while bags are delayed and inform customers on how to file a complaint.
Getting your money back for a delayed bag is all well and good — but receiving only $25 for a bag delayed for days or weeks doesn’t seem to cut it. Currently, checked-bag fees are reimbursed for lost bags, but not delayed ones.
The last option would involve a standardized compensation scale related to how long it takes the airline to deliver a delayed bag, and would require the DOT to define “unreasonable delay.” It would also take into account what caused the delay — for example, a customer could have checked in late, which might result in the bag missing a flight.
*Thanks for the tip, Curt!