More Protections for US Air Travel Buyers

Thank you, US Department of Transportation!  I’d already posted on some new FAA regs but turns out there were more benefits enacted at the end of January. Forgive me, I’m a little slow on fully reporting on this.

  • Airlines and other ticketing agents must advertise for consumers the total air ticket price – that includes the fare that the airline charges plus mandatory taxes and fees. No more sticker shock, as it is in many other countries.
  • Ever make a mistake on an online booking? Now you can cancel flights with no penalty up to 24 hours after you book, so long as travel is more than one week out from when you booked the ticket.

I took advantage of the new cancellation policy recently on Virgin America Airlines (my favorite domestic airline). My friend had booked us on a flight back to Chicago from LAX in March, which I thought was going to cost much less because of a sale the airline had going. It turned out the sale fares were only valid for certain days of the week (Tuesday through Thursday) and my friend had to return home on a Monday. I have more flexibility with my schedule. Besides, what’s one more day in California? That same day she booked the ticket, I called Virgin to have my trip home changed to the next day, for a savings of $135, with no penalty to cancel and re-book.

I’m a little wary of this passage, however, from the same Department of Transportation press release:

they [the airlines] will generally be prohibited from increasing the price of passengers’ ticket after it is bought.

“Generally”?

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