All Major U.S. Airlines Offer Free Cancellations Within 24 Hours, Except One

(Paul Thompson)

Even the most prepared traveler occasionally has to change their itinerary for unforeseen circumstances. While dealing with airlines to make a simple change can be both a test of your patience and a drain on your bank account, if you catch the issue soon enough you might save hundreds of dollars in change fees. That’s thanks, in part, to Department of Transportation rules that allow a ticket to be held at the same price for 24 hours before purchase or canceled within 24 hours after purchase — most of the time. [More]

Another Report Finds NHTSA Failed To Hold Automakers Responsible For Defects, Other Issues

Another Report Finds NHTSA Failed To Hold Automakers Responsible For Defects, Other Issues

The hits keep on coming for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Less than a month after internal reports determined the agency failed to adequately address the General Motors ignition switch defect that has been linked to more than 100 deaths, an audit from the U.S. Department of Transportation identified a plethora of shortcomings within the auto-safety regulator’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) that prevent it from properly protecting consumers from vehicle defects. [More]

(Themarcogoon49)

Upcoming Online Airfare Comparison Changes Raise Privacy, Discrimination Concerns

A group of senators raised concerns Tuesday that a new airfare comparison shopping system currently being developed could lead to unfair discrimination practices based on information the airlines receive from customers. [More]

(Douglas Muth)

Southwest Fined $1.6M For Lengthy Tarmac Delays

Southwest Airlines is once again feeling the ire of federal regulators, as the Department of Transportation on Thursday imposed a $1.6 million fine against the airline for forcing passengers to stay on planes for hours at Chicago’s Midway airport in January 2014. [More]

(John Hanley)

Airlines Hopefully To Break Guitars Less Often As Rule About Instruments As Carry-Ons Goes Into Effect

A musician’s instrument is a precious thing, in both senses of the word: they can be both riotously expensive, and also deeply loved. Airlines, however, have a bad track record of treating instruments less well than they deserve, by losing or wrecking them. The obvious solution — keep it with you, on board, in the passenger cabin — hasn’t always met with a positive response from the airlines, but now it’s official: you are, indeed, allowed to keep your instrument with you so that the airline can’t break it. [More]

(TheeErin)

Report: Envoy Air, ExpressJet More Likely To Lose Your Bags; Virgin, Frontier Least Likely

Each time I check my suitcase before hopping a flight, I say a little prayer that my things will make to my final destination. Luckily for me, I’ve had few issues with checked baggage (knock on wood), but thousands of other passengers haven’t been so fortunate. In fact, a new report from the U.S. Department of Transportation reveals that more than 1.6 million consumers have filed mishandled baggage reports in the first nine months of 2014. So, is there one airline that’s more apt to lose your luggage? Probably. [More]

(CarbonArc)

Feds Update, Expand Rules Covering How Airlines Report Their Animal-Safety Records

When you’re flying with your pet, sometimes it’s not possible to keep your beloved Mr. Saucypants in the plane cabin with you. But banishing him to the cargo hold below can be a daunting prospect, which is why U.S. regulators have expanded how many airlines must report on their animal-safety records. [More]

Proposed Rule Means Airlines Would Have To Be More Forthcoming With Fee Disclosures

Proposed Rule Means Airlines Would Have To Be More Forthcoming With Fee Disclosures

Purchasing plane tickets can be a painstaking task. First, you comb through options to see what fits your schedule, then you search high and low for a price that meets your travel budget. But upon arriving at the airport you’re faced with fee after fee and pretty soon, that travel budget goes out the window. Those days might be over, however, now that the U.S. Transportation Department has proposed a new rule that would require airlines to directly disclose basic service fees. [More]

GM To Pay $35 Million Fine For Botched Ignition Switch Recall

GM To Pay $35 Million Fine For Botched Ignition Switch Recall

GM will be paying a record-setting $35 million fine over its completely botched decade-long ignition-switch defect and subsequent recall, the Department of Transportation announced today. [More]

Congress Wants To Restore Glory Days Of Misleading Airfares And Hidden Fees

(Paul Thompson)

Remember what it was like to book air travel way back in ye olden days of three years ago? You’d spot a really excellent online deal on a flight, only to discover at checkout that after the taxes and fees, it was $50 higher than you’d thought. The Dept. of Transportation changed all that in 2012 — but now, a bill rapidly moving through Congress could reverse that change entirely. [More]

Even Business Travelers Don’t Want Anyone Yakking Away On The Phone In Mid-Air

Even Business Travelers Don’t Want Anyone Yakking Away On The Phone In Mid-Air

Who do you think of when you imagine the chatty kind of person who might want to make phone calls in the middle of a crowded airplane, mid-flight? While your mental picture might land on a businessperson in a suit yelling something about mergers and Hong Kong markets and getting that deal done before they close, a trade group representing business travelers has come out against the idea. [More]

The DOT Wants To Know: Should Cell Phone Calls Be Allowed On Planes?

The DOT Wants To Know: Should Cell Phone Calls Be Allowed On Planes?

Back in December when the Federal Communications Commission announced it would start investigating whether or not it’s a good idea to lift the ban on cell phone calls on planes — from a technological point of view — the Department of Transportation was all, “Hold on, we’re going to look into this too.” The DOT is now turning to the public to hear your thoughts. [More]

DOT Fines Delta $750,000 For Breaking Rules On Passenger-Bumping

DOT Fines Delta $750,000 For Breaking Rules On Passenger-Bumping

Delta isn’t great about letting passengers volunteer to be bumped off an oversold flight instead of just bumping them by force. The company just doesn’t have enough CEOs to go around and offer seats to people who need to get home. Don’t take our word for it: the U.S. Department of Transportation gave them a public reprimand and ordered the airline to pay a penalty of $750,000. [More]

(bravoinsd)

Supreme Court Denies Airline Industry Challenge To Price Advertising Rules

Ever since the Transportation Department told U.S. airlines they’d have to advertise the total cost of a ticket when touting their fares, the industry has been fighting back. Back in July a U.S. Appeals Court sided with consumers and ruled that airlines must stick to the new rules, and now the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the industry’s challenge once again, in refusing to hear the case. [More]

(TheeErin)

Airlines Mishandled Fewer Bags Last Year Maybe Because We Hate Paying To Check Them

The good news is that the Department of Transportation says airlines are mishandling fewer bags than before, with a nice little 8% drop in the amount of “lost, damaged, delayed or pilfered” pieces of luggage from 2011 to 2012. But before we go slapping airlines on the back with a hearty “good job!” pat, perhaps it’s just because passengers are keeping their personal effects out of the hands of baggage handlers. [More]

(cag2012)

Transportation Secretary: Dreamliners Won’t Fly Again Until They’re Deemed “1,000% Safe”

Just one week after he said he would be comfortable taking a spin in a Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has changed his tune. After numerous reports of problems with the jets’s batteries, LaHood now says none of them will take to the skies again until officials are “1,000% sure” they’re safe to fly. [More]

(stellarviewer)

Toyota Will Pay A Record Fine Of $17.35M Over Delay In Reporting Safety Defects

Toyota says it will be paying out a record $17.35 million — the maximum fine allowably by law — after the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the company had delayed reporting a safety defect to the government. It’s the highest single civil penalty that’s ever been paid to the NHTS Afor violations that are a result of a recall. [More]

JetBlue Fined For Not Telling Passengers They Can Exit A Plane Stuck Indefinitely At The Gate

JetBlue Fined For Not Telling Passengers They Can Exit A Plane Stuck Indefinitely At The Gate

Know your rights, airplane passengers! If you’re stuck at the gate waiting to take off, you do not have to just sit there and take it, according to the Department of Transportation’s rules. JetBlue is on the line for $90,000 after failing to inform passengers that they were allowed to get off a plane stuck at the gate for hours at John F. Kennedy Airport in March. [More]