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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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]
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]
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.
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]
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]
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]
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.
TripAdvisor has fallen afoul of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s rule about fare advertising, resulting in a fine of $80,000. The rule went into effect in January, and stated that ticket agents and airlines must display fares as the total of what a consumer will pay, taxes and fees included.
As the evidence piles up showing that teens are still distracted behind the wheel to an unsafe degree, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has introduced a new initiative aimed at ending the dangerous habits of texting or emailing while driving.
Starting August 23rd, airlines were supposed to start being more upfront on their websites about the fees they charge you. Guess what? They didn’t.