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New Federal Guidelines Protect Air Passengers

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — New federal rules designed to prevent long tarmac delays for international passengers will take effect Tuesday. The guidelines will provide greater compensation if fliers are bumped off flights and make airlines better disclose extra fees.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks Reports

The consumer protection rules from the Transportation Department allow officials to impose fines on U.S. and foreign airlines of up to $27,500 per passenger if they leave an international flight on a tarmac for more than four hours without taking off.

Airlines also will face penalties if passengers are bumped from an oversold flight. Passengers would get double the price of their tickets up to $650 if their arrival at their destination is delayed by just a few hours. Currently, compensation is equal to the ticket value, up to $400.

The Transportation Department said longer delays would trigger payments of four times the value of their tickets, up to $1,300. Currently, that compensation is capped at $800.

Airlines also will have to post all extra fees on their websites, including fees for checking bags, providing meals and canceling reservations.

Consumer advocates praise the new rules, but the airlines argue more government regulations can hinder operations.

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