New Law Will Make Airlines Refund Baggage Fees When Bags Are Delayed

Image courtesy of afagen

You’ve been there. You’re sitting at an airport in one state, while your luggage is stranded at an airport in another after it failed to make its connecting flight. You desperately need a fresh change of clothes and yet, it’s unclear when you’ll be reunited with your belongings. This, after you paid the airline to check that bag and have it arrive when you arrive.

According to a new measure signed into law this month [PDF], you’ll get that money back: airlines will be required to “promptly provide to a passenger an automated refund for any ancillary fees paid by the passenger for checked baggage” if the bag isn’t delivered to the passenger within 12 hours of the arrival of their domestic flight, or within 15 hours of an international flight.

To get the refund, you’ll have to notify the airline of the lost or delayed baggage.

This way, “passengers won’t have to spend a ton of time tracking down a refund when the airline doesn’t deliver,” U.S. Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, during remarks on the Senate floor this month, reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The rule is part of a Federal Aviation Administration re-authorization extension bill signed into law this month, and instructs the U.S. Transportation Secretary to issue regulations on the matter within a year.

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