Late last year the US Department of Transportation (DoT) temporarily halted all pending airline industry regulations as part of a Trump administration push to free US businesses from red tape burdens. It then asked the public and airlines for comments on current regulations that could be repealed or revised. The major carriers and their lobbying groups did not hold back! Here are some of the rules they want to abolish according to The Chicago Tribune:
24 Hour Booking Cancelation Rule
All of us are very familiar with this one. The 2011 regulation grants all passengers who are purchasing tickets that touch a US destination the right to cancel and get a no questions asked full refund within 24 hours.
American Airlines told the department that it and other carriers already sell tickets with various options, including those that are nonrefundable and those that offer the right to cancel beyond 24 hours for a higher price. Lobby group Airlines for America, in its filing, said the rule allows passengers to hold “an unlimited number of reservations at once, free of any cancellation penalty during the 24-hour hold period,” thus eliminating a carrier’s ability to sell those seats to another buyer.
Full Fare Advertising
This 2012 regulations requires all airlines and travel sites to list the full fare after all taxes and fees so that consumers can make educated decisions when comparing flight options.
Delta Air Lines suggested that the full price “distorts consumers’ views of what they pay for airline service (as opposed to what they pay in government-imposed fees and taxes), causing consumer confusion and engendering negative views of airfares.”
This one was a huge deal when it passed in 2009 under the Obama administration. It requires that airlines provide food, water, and access to bathrooms during long delays AND that passengers are allowed to exit the aircraft after 3 hours on domestic flights and 4 hours on international flights.
“Many of the regulations/initiatives adopted or issued at the end of the previous administration are extremely costly, will be unduly burdensome on the airline industry, and should be repealed or permanently terminated,” United Airlines said in its statement filed with the Transportation Department.”
Reporting Pet Deaths and Injuries
All airlines currently must file monthly reports on the death, injury or loss of any pets. Airlines for America, the major lobby for US based carriers says this information is useless and adds an unnecessary burden to carriers. Remember, this information was quoted often last week when it became clear that United has had quite a colorful record with regards to transporting animals.
“Today, our focus is to continue to further ensure the comfort and safety of all animals that fly with us,” United spokesman Charles Hobart said.
Sadly, this is just a sampling of the 30+ current regulations that are under discussion at a time when the European equivalent continues to add additional passenger protections. The good news is that once all of the proposals are received the DoT will invite the airlines and their lobby groups, consumer groups, and the public to share their concerns. The DoT will then decide which ones warrant changes or repeals, though many may not be altered at all.