Obama Ups Fines to Bump Passengers Off Flights

Airlines bumping more passengers as they cut back on flights
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2010 12:33 PM CDT
An airline passenger watches for flight delays on monitors at LaGuardia Airport in New York in this Friday, June 8, 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

(Newser) – The Obama administration has more good news for frustrated travelers. The Department of Transportation intends to increase the amount airlines have to pay you if they bump you involuntarily to a later flight. The regulation, one of several passenger-friendly moves from the White House, comes amid soaring bump rates, ABC News reports. Last year, 762,422 passengers got pushed back, up 10% from the previous year. This year is on pace to rise another 17%.

"The airlines are cutting back because of the economy and the planes are fuller," explains one aviation blogger. They're also continuing to oversell flights, something only JetBlue has a policy of not doing. Currently, passengers must be paid $400 to $800 if bumped involuntarily from a flight; those limits would increase to $650 to $1300. The fees are rarely assessed; airlines can avoid them by offering passengers incentives, like credit toward later flights, to voluntarily switch.

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