DOT Regulations As To Passenger Delays And Rights, And Their Ramifications

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THE HISTORY BEHIND THE TARMAC DELAY REGULATIONS

On April 29, 2010, new federal aviation regulations were enacted which govern the protection of passengers when delays occur in airline travel. These regulations, which are commonly referred to as The Passenger Bill of Rights, the Tarmac Delay Rules, or The Passenger Protection Act, were aimed at increasing air passenger protection to improve management of flights, to disseminate flight delay information, and to enhance customer service. See The United States Department of Transportation Final Regulatory Impact Analysis of Rulemaking on Enhanced Airline Passenger Protections, Final Regulatory Evaluation (Dec. 17, 2009) (hereinafter “Final Regulatory Evaluation”); Department of Transportation’s Final Rule and Summary, Fed. Reg., Vol. 74, No. 249 (Dec. 30, 2009) (see article for link); 14 C.F.R. Part 259 et seq. The stated purpose of the Regulations is to “mitigate hardships for airline passengers during lengthy tarmac delays and otherwise to bolster air carriers’ accountability to consumers.” 14 C.F.R. 259.1. The Tarmac Rules require many things of airports and air carriers, which include air carriers’ development and implementation of contingency plans for tarmac delays, air carriers’ postings to their contracts of carriage regarding these contingency plans, air carrier development of customer service plans and responding to passenger complaints, air carrier publication of delayed flight information, cooperation between airports and air carriers in regards to tarmac delays, and prohibitions on air carriers’ retroactive changes to their contracts of carriage which would negatively impact passengers. United States of America Department of Transportation Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Concerning the Enforcement of the Final Rule on Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections, (see article for link) (hereinafter DOT Answers to Frequently Asked Questions).....

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