Compensation for Bumped Airline Passengers Doubles

April 17, 2008 | By | Reply More
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MoneyYesterday the US Department of Transportation announced new compensation limits for passengers bumped from flights. Over the past 5 years we’ve all been squeezed onto totally full airline flights, as carriers dramatically reduce the number of flights operated. The number of overbooked flights with passengers bumped even though they have a perfectly valid ticket (officially called Involuntary Denied Boarding), has escalated at an alarming rate. The DOT has taken notice and after 30 years of compensation amounts remaining the same, it has doubled compensation limits.

Beginning in May, passengers denied boarding will be entitled to compensation up to a maximum of $400 if they arrive at their destination within 2 hours of their original flight time for domestic flights or within 4 hours for international flights. If the delay is greater than 2 hours for domestic and 4 hours for international flights, the compensation doubles to a maximum of $800. These amounts are in addition to the ticket purchase price which may be refunded or available for reuse. DOT is also extending compensation to regional jet flights. Previously flights with fewer than 60 passengers were not included in the denied boarding compensation regulations. With the new regulations, all flights with more than 30 passengers are covered.

So what does this all mean to you in practical terms? Well, first and foremost it pays to check in online 24 hours in advance of your flight to secure your seat and have a boarding pass issued. It’s the late arrivals who get bumped. If you are a passenger with a flexible schedule who looks forward to being ‘bumped’, it’s very likely that the airlines will step up their offerings for passengers volunteering to take a later flight, so they don’t have to pay out at the double compensation rates. If you are an unfortunate victim of involuntary denied boarding, look to receive double your flight segment price up to the new compensation limits.

Category: Airlines & Low Airfares, Money & Technology, Transportation