Shock, horror, awe – these are words most commonly associated with car crashes. And if the main U.S. airlines get their say with the government, it will also be a perfect way to describe the passenger experience in the United States of America. U.S. airlines have asked governing bodies in Washington to change laws, almost all of which will negatively impact passengers. Here are the ten most shocking requests…

Charge For Wheelchairs

If you know anyone with disabilities, you know how disheartening this is. US airlines are mandated to offer free wheelchair access to passengers of need. They’ve requested that the Department of Transportation remove this rule. This would in theory allow airlines to charge passengers for use of wheelchairs. A war veteran could be asked to pay an extra $25 to fly, so airlines can make money on things they are tired of providing for free.

Make Deals Harder To Find

Presently, airline searches on booking sites must include on time information and results are ordered by price or schedule. Airlines would like to change the rules, so they can pay to be shown first, regardless of price. So you could theoretically search for cheap flights to any destination – and the first 10 results you see would be terrible prices. But after years of searching to see best prices first, you could easily assume what you see is what you get.

Hide Real Ticket Costs

Airlines want to make the ticket purchasing experience like car commercials. You see a flashy number, and when you go to book – you see the real number. Presently airlines must show “all in” fares, with all taxes and surcharges factored in. Airlines want to remove that, so they can show you prices like $25!!!!! But when you go to book, the price will jump on the final page, once taxes and surcharges are factored.

Remove Free 24 Hour Cancellation Rule

For tickets purchased more than 7 days in advance, a free “grace period” exists. If you book a ticket, realize you entered the wrong name, dates or any other mishap, you can immediately cancel and receive a full refund. That’s a great protection, and very fair. You’ll likely rebook the ticket anyway. Airline would rather immediately gouge you with fees, and have asked for this rule to be stricken.

End Passenger Rights Under “Tarmac Rule”

Airlines are no longer allowed to hold you hostage, just to get what they want. For ground delays of 3 hours, airlines must allow passengers to de board and are required to provide ample food and water. Apparently they hate this. Airlines want to strike this rule down as well, allowing passengers to be held on board for indefinite hours, without rights or even water.

No Obligation To Honor “Mistake” Tickets

This would set a terrible precedent. Currently this law is poorly enforced, but if it were removed, which the airlines have asked for – anything could happen. Let’s say an airline sold you a $200 round trip ticket from New York to Florida. It wasn’t a mistake. But then weeks later the Super Bowl is announced and they’d like to resell that ticket for $500. They could claim “mistake” and cancel your ticket without any protection for passengers.

Take Away Refunds For Delayed Baggage

Sure, fares have dropped – but if you want to bring a checked bag, you’re now hit with fees of at least $25 each way, per person. Passengers have come to terms with this. There’s been a great rule, protecting travelers, where baggage fees must be refunded if the bag does not reach it’s destination within a certain amount of time. Clearly, airlines see this as a burden and would like for this to disappear as well.

Limit Foreign Airline Competition

It’s highly ironic that the same airlines which seek to deregulate travel and remove “rules” are hellbent on creating rules to reduce competition from outside airlines. Delta, American and United have kicked and screamed for years to prevent airlines like Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, Xiamen, Norwegian and other emerging brands from gaining access to US routes and competing. You can’t have it all, can you?

Limit Emotional Support Animals

We don’t find this shocking, but many people will. Unfortunately, loopholes and ease have created a literal flying zoo, with more animals boarding commercial planes than ever before. Airlines are struggling to cope with confusion and frustration and have asked the Department of Transportation to clarify the “emotional support” rights of passengers. We’ll give em’ this one.

Thanks to Scott McCartney at WSJ, Chris McGinnis From SF Gate and Matthew Klint from Live and Lets Fly for unearthing and addressing these issues.



Get the travel tips you can't afford to miss delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe below!

Get the travel tips you can't afford to miss delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe below!

* indicates required

You have Successfully Subscribed!