The airline counter agent’s worst nightmare is announcing “your flight has been canceled” or “unfortunately, your luggage will not arrive until tomorrow” to a plane full of attorneys. Air travel has become more frustrating over the past decade. There are more cancellations, tarmac delays, and passenger horror stories than ever before.
When problems arise, your rights as a passenger do not come from consumer-friendly state laws. Instead, they are dictated by international treaties, federal statutes, and other regulations that sole practitioners are not used to dealing with. Insulation from state consumer protection laws, inefficient enforcement of federal law, and Congress’s refusal to pass a Passenger Rights Bill has allowed air carriers to cut services year after year without repercussions. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has recently stepped up with the “Enhancing Air Passenger Protections” initiative and implemented rules to ensure that passengers have basic protections when problems arise.