The Airline Passenger Bill of Rights



Head of the airline passenger bill of rights? I certainly had not until I already had been travelling for years. I realized that many do not know what this is. This article is my attempt to briefly summarize what traveler rights are covered in this document.

Passenger complaints have lead to Congress authorizing the coalition for airline passengers to establish this bill of rights to push it further into becoming law.

This bill will hold American airline carriers accountable for following these guidelines to ensure the safety, security and comfort of their passengers. Guidelines include:
  • Responding to passenger complaints within 24 hours and with appropriate resolution within two weeks we all know how much this happens!


  • Notify passengers within 10 minutes of a delay of known diversions, delays and cancellations via airport overhead announcement, on-aircraft announcement and posting on airport television monitors.


  • Establish procedures for returning passengers to terminal gate when delays occur so that no plane sits on the tarmac for longer than three hours without connecting to a gate.


  • Provide for the essential needs of passengers during air- or ground-based delays of longer than three hours, including food, water, sanitary facilities and access to medical attention.


  • Provide for the needs of disabled, elderly and special-needs passengers by establishing procedures for assisting with the moving and retrieving of baggage, and the moving of passengers from one area of airport to another at all times by airline personnel.


  • Publish and update monthly on the company's public Web site a list of chronically delayed flights, meaning those flight delayed 30 minutes or more, at least 40 percent of the time, during a single month.


  • Compensate "bumped" passengers or passengers delayed due to flight cancellations or postponements of over 12 hours by refund of 150 percent of ticket price.


  • The formal implementation of a Passenger Review Committee, made up of non-airline executives and employees but rather passengers and consumers -- that would have the formal ability to review and investigate complaints.


  • Make lowest fare information, schedules and itineraries, cancellation policies and frequent flier program requirements available in an easily accessed location and updated in real time.


  • Ensure that baggage is handled without delay or injury; if baggage is lost or misplaced, the airline shall notify customer of baggage status within 12 hours and provide compensation equal to current market value of baggage and its contents.


  • Require that these rights apply equally to all airline code share partners including international partners.
Is this fair to the airlines? Is it reasonable? Think before answering. This list simply holds airlines accountable for their own policies. Yes, you read right. These are things they should be doing as is anyway.

It is sad to see so many airline complaints. If folks were aware of this law, I am sure you would see more running to small claims courts trying to sue the airline company.

You do have traveling rights, they are spelled out nicely in the airline passenger bill of rights. The key is to know them and understand them. I hope I was able to help do just that.


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