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]
department of transportation
Update: In March 2016, American announced that it was phasing out the hold option and transitioning to the 24-hour cancellation window option.
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]
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]
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]
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]