department of transportation


Frontier Fined $1.5M For Long Tarmac Delays, Will Only Pay $600K

Last December, Frontier canceled 275 flights after severe winter weather disrupted operations in and out of its hub at Denver International Airport. Still, the airline was slow to respond to the storm, federal aviation officials claim, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded on planes for hours. As a result, the company has been fined $1.5 million.  [More]

Phil's 1stPix

Feds Release Guidelines For Self-Driving Cars, But Does It Really Matter Yet?

While we might dream of a day where we can sit behind the wheel of a vehicle reading a book or watching a movie, all while the car drives itself, that day remains many moons away. But here’s the thing about technology — it changes, and it changes quickly. To that end, federal safety regulators are working to ensure that carmakers create safe systems to prepare for the day that self-driving vehicles are actually on the road. There’s a catch, though: It’s all voluntary.  [More]

John Kittelsrud

Bumping Rates On Airlines Fall After Carriers Change Overbooking Policies

You might remember a little incident on a United Airlines flight back in April in which a ticketed passenger was forcefully removed from a flight after he refused to give up his seat. That incident resulted in several airlines changing their policies related to overbooking flights, and the results of those changes are starting to show: The number of passengers bumped from U.S. airlines is at its lowest level in more than a decade.  [More]


Frontier, American & Delta Fined $850,000 For Involuntary Bumping, Damaged Bag Violations, Delayed Refunds

Frontier Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines must pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines after the Department of Transportation found the carriers violated consumer protection rules related to refunds, disability assistance, and other issues.  [More]

Mike Mozart

You Still Can’t Fire Up An E-Cigarette On Your Flight

If you were hoping to fire up that electronic cigarette on your next flight, you better think again: The use of e-cigarettes is still prohibited on commercial flights, an appeals court ruled Friday.  [More]


Airline Complaints Soar Following United’s Forced Removal Of Passenger

The Department of Transportation has released its latest report on consumer air travel complaints, and it looks like a number of high profile incidents — including the United passenger who was dragged from his seat to make room for an airline employee — may have inspired peeved travelers to speak up. [More]


Airline Bumpings Were Up, But Complaints Went Down In First Months Of 2017

The first few months of 2017 haven’t exactly been great for airlines, what with system outages, bumped passengers being dragged off planes, and other customer service fiascos. In fact, new federal data shows that bumpings were slightly up during the first quarter of 2017, while complaints filed against airlines actually dropped 19%. [More]


New Law Would Ban Airlines From Bumping Passengers Involuntarily

United Airlines’ decision to forcibly remove a paying passenger to make room for an airline employee has led to increased pressure for carriers to change their policies. A new piece of legislation wants to stop make it illegal for airlines to bump a passenger without their permission. [More]

Chris Wilson

6 Things Consumers Should Know About The White House’s Proposed ‘Skinny’ Budget

The Trump White House has released its first big-picture public proposal on federal spending for 2018. This initial pass — the so-called “skinny” budget — is basically an outline that doesn’t get into the finer details. However, the changes that are described in the document are nonetheless wide-sweeping, recommending significant cuts or culling of a number of programs you may currently take for granted. [More]


Delta Air Lines To Provide Diversity Training To All Employees

Between removing unruly or disruptive passengers from flights to denying boarding to travelers with service animals, the way in which airline employees handle tense situations with consumers has come to the forefront. Today, Delta Air Lines announced it would better prepare its employees for these encounters with diversity training.  [More]

Kerry Lannert

In-Flight Cellphone Calls May Finally Be Ready For Takeoff

You know that woman on the mall scream-talking into her cellphone? She could be on your next flight — well, maybe in a few years. After decades of prohibiting airline passengers from yakking away on their cellular devices from 20,000 feet up, federal regulators are mulling the idea of allowing travelers to make cellphone calls while in flight.  [More]


New Federal Rules Mean Airlines Have To Offer Refunds For Delayed Baggage

The White House issued new regulations this week that are aimed at protecting airline consumers by giving them more information to compare the cost of flights and the performance of air carriers. The Obama administration also wants airlines to refund checked bag fees when luggage is delayed. [More]


Four Airlines Fined For Misinforming Passengers About Compensation For Lost Bags & Being Bumped

If you’re involuntarily bumped from an overbooked flight, or if your bags are lost, the airline owes you some form of compensation. It turns out that four carriers — American, United, Alaska, and Southwest Airlines — haven’t exactly been forthright with all their passengers when it comes to getting what they are owed. [More]


British Airways, Lufthansa & Air France Fined For Treatment Of Disabled Passengers

Four months after the U.S. Department of Transportation fined United Airlines $2 million for violating rules protecting air travelers with disabilities, the agency is continuing to police the skies when it comes to disabled passengers. This time, levying fines against Lufthansa, British Airways, and Air France.  [More]


American Airlines Ditching Confusing 24-Hour Hold Policy For 24-Hour Cancellation Option

Federal airline regulations require that carriers must either give most passengers a 24-hour window to cancel tickets without penalty, or allow travelers to put tickets on hold for 24 hours before being charged the airfare. Of all major U.S. carriers, American Airlines is the only one that doesn’t offer the cancellation option, resulting in costly confusion for some travelers. But AA says it is ditching that policy and will begin offering the 24-hour cancellation window instead. [More]

Traveler Complaints About Airlines Increased Nearly 30% Last Year

Traveler Complaints About Airlines Increased Nearly 30% Last Year

While airlines might not be leaping at the chance to tell customers how to file complaints about their service, that hasn’t stopped more travelers from sharing their tales of woe with the Department of Transportation. In fact, the number of complaints filed by beleaguered passengers increased by nearly 30% last year.  [More]

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]