It’s Going To Cost Airlines More To Bump You (What A Shame!)
Finally some good news for airline passengers. If you get “bumped” off a flight, the airline may soon have to pay you more for the inconvenience, according to a report by the Associated Press.
I’ve written a lot here recently of all the fees the airlines are tacking onto the price of a ticket. Checked baggage fees, carry-on fees, peak travel fees, blanket and snack fees… even a pee fee. We need a break.
This week, federal officials are expected to announce a plan to increase the amount of money paid to customers forced off flights. Payments are now $400 or $800, depending on how long a trip is delayed. Those amounts were raised a couple of years ago, after decades with no increase. Inflation is hiking the price of everything else, so why not airline “bumping”? The AP report:
Passenger rights groups have pushed the Transportation Department to raise the payout limits to $800 and $1200 per traveler if the airline bumps you involuntarily. The agency has signaled that it plans some type of inflation adjustment in the limits, which were raised in 2008. Officials declined to provide details.
Up to $1200 a passenger? Cha-ching!! When my family was younger and poorer, we used to play the bumping “game”. Once flying back from a vacation, we were bumped twice. $2000 total towards future flights. And we had the opportunity for a three-peat. My wife and I were stoked. But by then, the boys were revolting, and it was turning ugly in the terminal. At $1200 each, I think we would have tied the boys up and muzzled them.
Despite the potential good news for passengers, the airports and airplanes will be frustrating places this summer. Good Morning America personal finance contributor Mellody Hobson offers some money-saving and frustration-busting tips to travel smart this summer. This is right from the GMA website:
- Know when to travel. Hobson said many of the larger airlines are charging passengers a peak travel surcharge that could be as high as $30 per seat. The charges usually affect the holidays, although FareCompare.com has reported that major airlines will charge more for most days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, she added.
- Check baggage fees. When you purchase a ticket, be sure to check any added costs for your luggage. Hobson said United Airlines charges $25 for the first checked bag, and $35 for the second. She said Southwest Airlines has set itself apart by not charging for checked bags.
- Pack light. All the travel experts say it: pack lighter and make good use of your carry-on bag.
- Ship bags separately. Ship or send your overweight bags by courier, she said. It may cost far less than checking them in at the airline. Some hotels even offer delivery options, she added.
- Check your bags online. If you know you are going to check a bag, visit your airline’s Web site. You’ll usually find different pricing options for checking your bags at the airport as opposed to checking them in online.
- Bring your own stuff! Airlines are now charging for meals, blankets and drinks. Pack a sweater and carry your own food and you’ll save, Hobson said.
And who says flying is relaxing? It’s a battle out there. So don’t feel guilty accepting money from the airlines for inconveniencing you. Consider it “combat” pay.