Re-elect Dan Lipinski Congressman

Luggage Delayed? Airlines Must Pay


Crain's Chicago Business

If you're tired of getting the runaround when your airline delivers your checked luggage a week and two cities late, you might like the step the federal government took today.

With a big cheer from U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it will issue rules requiring airlines to "refund consumers' baggage fees when their luggage is substantially delayed."

DOT also announced it's expanding the number of carriers required to report on-time performance, oversales and mishandled luggage data. Now, that will include any airline that accounts for at least 0.5 percent of total domestic passenger revenue.

And it is requiring major carriers such as United and American to include figures from domestic code-share partners—American Eagle, United Express and the like—in their overall monthly travel reports to the department.

"Airline passengers deserve to have access to clear and complete information about the airlines they choose to fly, and to expect fair and reasonable treatment when they fly," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. "The actions we're taking today and in coming months will expand aviation consumer protections."

For years, Lipinski has pushed for action on dropping bag fees when luggage arrives late or gets lost. Fees already are being refunded for lost luggage under a previous rule; the Chicago Democrat finally achieved partial success when the late luggage clause was included in the FAA authorization bill that cleared Congress over the summer.

Lipinski noted the term "substantial delay" is not yet being defined by the DOT. The department is seeking feedback on that, and on the related question of whether it should differentiate between international and domestic flights, before adopting a final rule in a few months.

"Airline passengers deserve to be treated with fairness and respect," Lipinski said. "If you pay for a service, you should get that service or get your money back."

I guess miracles do happen.

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