White House aids aggrieved air travellers

The White House announced efforts on Tuesday to improve air travel for Americans by requiring airlines to refund baggage handling fees if luggage is “substantially delayed” and requiring online travel agents to provide neutral search results.

The effort in the waning days of President Barack Obama’s administration is aimed at responding to complaints from consumers that range from delayed or damaged baggage and wheelchairs to pricey add-ons like payments for seat assignments.

“The actions we’re announcing today will help consumers know how airlines are performing; will make sure that consumers don’t have to pay for services they don’t receive and will help consumers find the best flight options for them,” Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers told reporters.

As part of that effort, the Transportation Department issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking which would require airlines to refund baggage fees if luggage is “substantially delayed.” The department did not define a substantial delay.