department of transportation


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]


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]


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]