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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

U.S. Wants to Boost Airline Passenger Bumping Fee

Maximum compensation for bumping passengers off oversold flights would rise to $1,300 under a U.S. government proposal released on Wednesday.

The Transportation Department plan would also expand its runway delay program to overseas airlines, making them comply with the same requirements as domestic counterparts for ground delays exceeding three hours.

Current bumping fees range from $400 to $800, depending on whether an alternative flight is available and whether the trip is domestic or international service.

U.S. airlines also would have to clarify charges for checking luggage and notify consumers if the fees rise.

The rule builds on steps taken by the Obama administration to bolster consumer protection in the wake of long ground delays and charging for bags as a way to get more money from their customers.

Other aspects of the new rule, which would take effect later this year if finalized by regulators, would allow passengers to cancel ticket purchases within 24 hours of making them without paying a penalty.