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suitcases baggage luggage bagsThe U.S. government is coming to bat for travelers, pushing for the implementation of new rules that would further defend endlessly abused fliers against the big bad airlines.

The Department of Transportation wants to address some of the biggest complaints about airlines, reports the Associated Press. Some of changes proposed by DOT Secretary Ray LaHood include refunds for checked bag fees when luggage is lost, an increase in the amount of money paid to bumped passengers, the option for fliers to cancel reservations within 24 hours of booking at no charge, and a more lucid disclosure of extra fees.

At present, airlines aren’t required to refund checked baggage fees if luggage is lost or damaged. Contributing blogger Dan Askin learned this the hard way when he had to pay $50 for the privilege of having his bag destroyed by US Airways. Such behavior has been de rigueur for the airline industry. But will LaHood’s proposal change things for the better?

The AP spoke to Nick Gates of SITA, an aviation technology provider, who warned that the airlines might use the proposed changes as an excuse to raise fees. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise to us; we’ve seen new rules implemented by the DOT backfire before.

When the Department of Transportation put into effect its passenger rights bill last year, one of its goals was to prevent lengthy delays by imposing hefty fines any time a plane sat on a tarmac for longer than three hours. But the bill may have had unintended consequences for travelers. Crankly Flier argues that the tarmac delay rule incited a significant increase in flight cancellations in 2010, reporting that there were an additional 5,000 cancellations in 2010 versus 2009 (even though weather conditions were 30 percent better in 2010 than in 2009).

Will the proposed DOT rules be a boon for fliers, or might passengers face a surge of reactionary fees or an increase in ticket prices? Share your thoughts!

— written by Caroline Costello

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2 Responses to “Should Fliers Get Refunds for Lost Bags? DOT Thinks So”

  1. Chet says:

    Great Article ,

    Is there such a thing as lost baggage? Perhaps so to the traveler. Have you ever heard of a site called unclaimed baggage? Where does this luggage come from? It makes you wonder doesn’t it.
    As far as the DOT making new laws, Where have they been up till now.
    The airlines are the only business I know that will changes the rules in a minute no matter who it hurts in the name of profit. You need cancellation insurance these days to keep up with their profit schemes. It is all about the money to these corporations and that is it.

  2. M. Wade says:

    Someone please tell Delta that they should reimburse for luggage. My dream vacation was spoiled because my bag was lost and not returned until I came back from my trip. I had no clothes. Now I have requested reimbursement and Delta claims no liability. Hopefully the proposed new legislation will help airlines become more accountable for baggage handling. Especially since most charge fees.

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