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21/04/2008 – Passenger “Bumping Rule” Compensation : New Rules For Passenger Compensation!
Starting in May, 2008, airlines operating in the United States will have more incentive to reduce their over booking policy and there will be further compensation for passengers who are denied boarding on their flights.
Last week the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) finally changed the rules as they pertain to passengers who are “involuntarily denied boarding,” aka “IDB” or “bumped.” Under the old rules, which were set in place way back in 1978, when I was 3 years old, passengers who were ” “involuntarily bumped” (IDB’d)” and who arrived at their destination within 2 hours of their original arrival time were compensated with between $200 and $400. Generally these passengers also received a round trip voucher good within the continental United States. This compensation was valid for passengers “IDB’d” from a flight on planes that carried more than 60 passengers only.
Under the new US DOT rules, which they are calling the “Bumping Rule,” passengers who are “IDB’d” and arrive at their destination within 2 hours of their original schedule arrival time. will be compensated up to $400. For those passengers flying internationally this time frame is extended to four hours. Passengers who arrive more than 2 hours past their original scheduled arrival time will receive up to $800. Under the new rules this compensation is now available to passengers flying on aircraft that carry more than 30 passengers.
The new “Bumping Rule” compensation is based on the value of the passenger ticket and the length of the delay. This new compensation in addition to the value of each passengers ticket and may be used towards alternate transportation, if required, or it may be directly refunded if not used for alternated transportation.
For those who have an extended delay, you should also demand meal vouchers for your unexpected time in the airport, for those delayed overnight you should demand to be put up in a hotel for the evening and transportation to that hotel if none is available. As with all bumps, voluntary (VDB) and involuntary (IDB) you should always strongly request a voucher good for a round trip journey within the continental United States.
What is the difference in IDB and VDB? Simple. When you are Involuntarily Denied Boarding (IDB) you are not given the option to board the plane. This can happen for a variety of reasons, oversold flight, change of equipment (aircraft swap), late connection and a gate agent who makes the decision not to board you (even if you legally have enough time to board the flight!). When you are “voluntarily denied boarding” (VDB) you have offered yourself up to be bumped at the request of the airline.
To learn more on the benefits of getting “VDB’d” visit my post from the 16th of November at: “We Need A Volunteer To Give Up Their Seat In Exchange For A Free Flight” – The Ups & Downs Of Being Bumped”
Hopefully this explains a somewhat confusing change in the US DOT rules and your rights as a passenger flying in the US (or flying from the US).