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The Department is likely to get as much criticism for what it doesn't include as for what it does. Those complaints will probably reference the omission of any rules for how airlines must compensate travelers inconvenienced by delayed or cancelled flights.

The third round of the Transportation Department’s consumer protection rules is due this fall, and it comes highly anticipated.

A follow-up to the two sets of reforms Obama’s DOT enacted in 2010 and 2011, the new group of rules has been delayed more than once, and is now under review at the Office of Management and Budget.

Here’s some of what they include:

  • The requirement that small airlines report on-time performance and mishandled baggage data, in the same way that large carriers already do;
  • An expansion of the existing performance reporting requirements to include not only airlines’ own flights but those of their code-share partners;
  • The requirement that airlines provide real-time information on fees for optional services to travel agents, so that consumers will be able to compare the fees among carriers and pay for optional services when they book flights through them; and
  • Requiring ticket agents to adopt minimum customer service standards, such as providing refunds and timely responses to consumer complaints in a timely manner.

The Department is also working on some rules it hasn’t proposed quite yet, according to spokesman Bill Moseley. Those include specific provisions for travelers with disabilities, including making automated kiosks more accessible, improving airport accessibility, and considering airlines’ responsibility to supply in-flight medical oxygen.

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Tags: government, regulation

Photo credit: Passengers await their luggage at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. Doug Waldron / Flickr

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