The DOT today published two notices of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) and one advance notice of proposed rulemaking (“ANPRM”) containing new economic regulations that would be applicable to the airlines. It would appear that these proposed rules are the result of the public’s, and congress’s, discontent with the airlines’ treatment of their customers.
Under ANPRM DOT-OST-2007-0022, DOT is asking “whether it should adopt a rule to enhance airline passenger protections in the following seven ways: require carriers to adopt contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays and incorporate them in their contracts of carriage, require carriers to respond to consumer problems, deem operating a chronically delayed flight to be unfair and deceptive, require carriers to publish delay data, require carriers to publish complaint data, require on-time performance reporting for international flights, and require carriers to audit their compliance with their customer service plans.” For more information on this ANPRM you should contact Betsy L. Wolf or Blane A. Workie, Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Washington, DC 20590, 202-366-9342, 202-366-7152 (fax), firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
NPRM OST 2007-28522 is “proposing to collect additional data elements when flights are cancelled, diverted, or experience gate returns. The additional proposed data elements would fill in data gaps giving the Department, the industry, and the public a more accurate portrayal of on-ground delays after flights depart the gate but prior to the time they take off and after flights land but before they reach the gate.” For more information on this NPRM, you would need to contact Bernie Stankus, Office of Airline Information, RTS-42, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Telephone Number (202) 366-4387, Fax Number (202) 366-3383 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, NPRM DOT-OST-01-9325 is “proposing to amend the rules relating to oversales and denied boarding compensation to increase the limits on the compensation paid to ‘bumped’ passengers, to cover flights by certain U.S. and foreign air carriers operated with aircraft seating 30 to 60 passengers, which are currently exempt from the rule.” For more information regarding this NPRM you should contact Tim Kelly, Aviation Consumer Protection Division, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Washington, DC 20590, 202-366-5952 (voice), 202-366-5944 (fax), email@example.com.
Comments to the ANPRM and the NPRMs are due no later than January 22, 2008. It will be interesting to see how many comments DOT receives, especially in light of the fact that the upcoming holiday travel season will likely result in a number of situations that the proposed rules would address. No better time to fly general aviation!