DOT: Average U.S. Airfare At Lowest Price Since 2010

DOT: Average U.S. Airfare At Lowest Price Since 2010

It’s not often that we get to use the word “cheap” along with “airfare,” but that’s the case today, after the U.S. Department of Transportation released its quarterly numbers, showing that the average price for an airline ticket in the third quarter of 2015 was the lowest it’s been in six years. [More]

Consumer Group Sues DOT For Failure To Create Searchable Database Of Safety Defects

Consumer Group Sues DOT For Failure To Create Searchable Database Of Safety Defects

More than three years ago, Congress instructed the Department of Transportation to create a publicly accessible, and easily searchable, website featuring communications between regulators, automakers, dealers, and consumers about safety defects. One safety group says this hasn’t happened, and is suing DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx in an effort to make this database a reality. [More]

Themarcogoon49

Don’t Get Stuck Paying For A Flight You Can’t Take; Know Your Airline’s 24-Hour Cancellation Policy

You can spend months, and thousands of dollars, putting together a trip abroad, but no matter how much effort you take to avoid travel trouble, unforeseen circumstances can force you to change your plans. Thankfully, most airlines flying to and from the U.S. have a policy that lets passengers cancel tickets within 24 hours of booking. Note that we said “most airlines” — not all. [More]

Regulators Move To Ease Restrictions For Self-Driving Cars

Regulators Move To Ease Restrictions For Self-Driving Cars

With everyone from Google to Ford trying to get into the self-driving vehicle business, federal regulators say it may be time to ease up on some restrictions that the industry claims are slowing innovation in the relatively new field. [More]

United Airlines Fined $2.75M For Tarmac Delays, Treatment Of Disabled Passengers

United Airlines Fined $2.75M For Tarmac Delays, Treatment Of Disabled Passengers

In October, United Airlines apologized to a disabled passenger who ended up crawling off the plane after he was told he’d have to wait up to 50 minutes for a wheelchair. This is just one of several complaints related to United’s treatment of disabled passengers. When combined with penalties for stranding passengers on the tarmac for more than three hours, the airline now faces federal fines of $2. 75 million. [More]

(Alan Rappa)

Denying Travelers Compensation For Damaged Bags Won’t Fly With The DOT Starting Jan. 9

Some airlines aren’t living up to their obligation to compensate passengers for damage to their luggage, recent inspections by the Department of Transportation found. Now, the agency is warning carriers that if their policies and trainings don’t fall in line with federal regulations by Jan. 9, they could face fines and other enforcement action.  [More]

American Airlines Offering Some Travelers Free Flights To China After Glitch

American Airlines Offering Some Travelers Free Flights To China After Glitch

For five hours in mid-March world travelers were able to book American Airlines flights from select U.S. cities to China for bargain prices because of a glitch. While the carrier honored tickets that had been paid for in full, it canceled hundreds of trips that were placed on a 24-hour price hold. Now, as part of an agreement with the Department of Transportation, those passengers are eligible for a free – or significantly discounted – trip to China.  [More]

(frankieleon)

Sensor-Based Emergency Braking Systems Added To List For Five-Star Ratings Starting In 2018

If you plan to start shopping for a new car in 2018, you’ll have a longer list of recommended safety features to look for. Federal regulators are set to include automatic emergency braking as a recommended safety technology when distributing 5-star safety ratings starting in three years.  [More]

New Rule Bans E-Cigarettes From Checked Baggage

New Rule Bans E-Cigarettes From Checked Baggage

After more than 26 incidents in six years in which e-cigarettes have caused fires or explosions on planes, a new federal rule is set to go into effect banning the devices from being left in checked baggage.  [More]

American Airlines Fined $20K For Failing To Adequately Compensate Bumped Passengers

American Airlines Fined $20K For Failing To Adequately Compensate Bumped Passengers

If you get bumped from a flight because the airline overbooked the plane, you usually get some sort of compensation — money or vouchers for future flights — in exchange for having to change your travel plans. But federal regulators say American Airlines screwed up when it bumped nearly a dozen passengers from a Miami-to-London flight and failed to tell them why or offer them anything for their troubles. [More]

Federal Advisory Panel Recommends Clearer Disclosure Of Airline, Hotel Resort Fees

Federal Advisory Panel Recommends Clearer Disclosure Of Airline, Hotel Resort Fees

It’s no secret that airlines have increased their fees and shrunk the size of their seats over the years in an attempt to maximize revenue. While those extra costs and seat sizes are generally available through the carrier’s website, a federal panel thinks that information would better serve passengers if it were readily available during the ticket purchasing process. [More]

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]