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Airlines could be forced to compensate passengers for flight delays

The Department of Transportation says passengers could get as much as double the price of their one-way fare if their plane arrives two hours late.
Posted at 5:26 PM, Jun 09, 2023

If you get stranded at the airport for reasons within the airline's control, there are currently no laws in place requiring passenger compensation.

However, the Biden administration is proposing new rules that could force airlines to help travelers with costs related to extra time spent at the airport.

The Department of Transportation tracks delay and cancellation policies for controllable circumstances on its new customer service dashboard.

This resource allows travelers to find services provided by airlines in the event of a controllable flight delay or cancellation.

"If your flight is delayed or canceled over things like the computer system shut down, you should be getting accommodation coverage, food, transportation, and compensation for Wi-Fi, anything that's going to be out-of-pocket expenses while you're inconvenienced," Stan Sandberg, a travel industry expert, told Scripps News Phoenix. 

Travelers go through a TSA PreCheck screening line at an airport.

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This move is part of an effort to make air travel a little smoother this summer.

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If an overbooked flight is the problem and you get bumped involuntarily, Sandberg says knowing what to ask for at the customer service counter can pay off big, and emphasizes tone matters. 

"I'm telling you, it goes a long way to treat airline employees with respect. Do it in a way that they are going to be happy to help you," he said. 

If you do land at your destination between one to two hours late, for reasons caused by the airline, the new DOT dashboard says you could get as much as double the price of your one-way fare, up to $775 dollars.

Land any later than that and reimbursements climb to four times the value of your one-way ticket, up to $1,550 dollars.

Beyond the dashboard, the DOT is also working to implement a rule making it mandatory for airlines to seat young children next to an accompanying adult.

The Biden administration plans to send legislation related to the matter to Congress.

This story was originally published by Kaley O'Kelley at Scripps News Phoenix.

People pass through Salt Lake City International Airport on Jan. 11, 2023.

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