FAA unveils new rules protecting passengers

QUEENS - The Federal Aviation Administration unveiled new rules today aimed at protecting airline passengers from getting stranded on the tarmac and ensuring compensation if they get bumped from a flight or have their luggage lost.

Currently, airlines are prohibited from keeping passengers on the tarmac for more than three hours on domestic flights, but the new regulations expand that to international flights as well, putting a four-hour limit on tarmac waits.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says these changes come on the heels of the Christmas-weekend blizzard when passengers were stuck on planes for 10 hours at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

"We're trying to look out for passengers who, in some instances, have been treated pretty shabbily," LaHood says.

Under the new regulations, if an airline loses a passenger's luggage, it will be forced to refund the extra checked baggage fee. Also, travelers who get bumped from an overbooked flight will be entitled to compensation up to $1,300.

In addition, airlines will have to disclose online all of the extra government fees and taxes that are tacked onto the ticket price.

The new regulations go into effect in late August. If an airline is caught violating the tarmac rules, it will be fined $27,000 per passenger.

U.S. Dept. of Transportation

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