RELEASE: New protections for airline passengers: Which ones begin when?

Media Contacts

Guide details policies, start dates re: delays, refunds, vouchers, bags, family seating, rights for people with disabilities and more

WASHINGTON – Now that Congress and the Department of Transportation have given massive new protections to air travelers, the big question is: When will we see the changes? Some will be soon; some not until next year.

U.S. PIRG Education Fund researched the new law (with nearly 12,000 words on passenger protections) signed by President Joe Biden, new rules from the DOT and Federal Register notices to detail what the changes really mean.

Our just-released guide, “New airline passenger rights explained, with effective dates,” walks through the most important changes travelers can expect and when they will take effect.

“This tsunami of changes represents arguably the most sweeping improvements in passenger protections ever in one fell swoop,” said Teresa Murray, Consumer Watchdog program director for U.S. PIRG Education Fund. “We’ve never seen this number of critical protections for air travelers approved at one time. Until now, It’s mostly been onesies and twosies.”

The issue of denied boarding compensation goes back to the 1960s. Smoking was banned on planes in 2000. Mandatory reimbursement for lost or damaged baggage took effect in 2007. Rules outlining how passengers must be treated during tarmac delays passed in 2009.

“These flier-friendly actions are long, long overdue. Our research in our “The Plane Truth” reports over the years showed that travelers have had tens of thousands of valid complaints about air travel for years. The new law and rules are game-changers,” Murray said. “Not surprisingly, the industry is already pushing back on some of these changes. We trust regulators and lawmakers will make sure airlines, ticket agents and others comply with every part of the law.”

New protections for airline passengers: Which ones begin when?

PIRG Education Fund | TPIN