Airplane Passengers Have New-Found Flying Rights

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Starting Tuesday airline passengers will have more power. High profile cases, including one in Minnesota, led to the new rules.

On August 11, 2009, 47 passengers spent nine hours on a Continental commuter plane. They were trapped on the tarmac in Rochester, Minn., for more than six hours, even though the terminal was open.

Link Christin was on that plane. He said it ran out of food and water, and that the toilet broke in the middle of the night.

“It was a relatively horrible scene,” Christin said.

Since that experience, Christin has helped to lead the charge for change. Because of his persistence, the Department of Transportation eventually adopted new tarmac time limits.

Starting Tuesday there will be more protections:
-Airlines must display all potential charges on their websites including cancelation fees
-Airlines must refund baggage fees for lost luggage on top of paying for lost belongings.
-Twice the ticket price will be paid to passengers bumped from flights or delayed for up to two hours longer as much as four times the ticket value.
-Airlines will be fined for any international flights stuck on the tarmac for more than four hours.

“I think what it took was a few extreme situations to kind of push the tide a little bit in that direction,” Chrsitin said.

More rules for airlines are expected to come in January, when customers buying tickets at least two weeks ahead will be able to change reservations within 24 hours of booking. Also, all taxes and fees will have to be displayed in any airlines advertised price.

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