Categorized | Government, News

DOT warns airlines on improperly limiting reimbursements for mishandled baggage


Airlines may not arbitrarily limit compensation for passengers who purchase necessities because their baggage is lost or delayed, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) said in a notice issued today.

In its notice, the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office said that a number of carriers have policies stating that they will reimburse passengers only for buying necessities purchased more than 24 hours after arrival and limiting such reimbursements to the outbound legs of trips. This is in violation of DOT regulations which require that airlines cover all expenses caused by lost or delayed baggage up to $3,300 per passenger on domestic flights, DOT said.

“Travelers should not have to pay for toiletries or other necessities while they wait for baggage misplaced by airlines,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We expect airlines to comply with all of our regulations and will take enforcement action if they do not.”

The Department said airlines should review their passenger handouts and contracts of carriage to make sure they comply with DOT rules. The Aviation Enforcement Office will monitor carriers’ compliance and take enforcement action if necessary after 90 days from the issuance of this notice.

Last month the Department fined an airline for providing compensation for delayed baggage only for the outbound leg of round-trip flights and only for purchases made more than 24 hours after arrival, among other violations.

The notice is available on the Internet at

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