Airline customer service gets upgrade

Thursday, April 17th 2008, 11:47 pm
By: News 9

By Amanda Taylor, NEWS 9Airlines have overbooked flights for years. It's not illegal, and they do it to compensate for no shows.

As a result, passengers are sometimes left behind, or bumped from their flights.

"I've been dumped in St. Louis twice," Chuck Perry said. "I had to drive from there to Oklahoma City in past month."

We told you before about a little known rule where if an airline bumps you, they're supposed to pay. The U.S. Department of Transportation doubled the money airlines are required to give.

If a domestic airline bumped someone, and can get the passenger to their final destination within two hours of the original arrival time, they have to pay the traveler up to $400.

If the airline can't get the passenger to their final destination in that time frame, the carrier owe up to $800.

In addition, if the airline can't the passenger to their final destination at all, they still have to compensate the customer the value of the original ticket.

The voucher can then be used as an alternate transportation.

"It's hard to compensate for missed family occasions and business opportunity, but this rule will ensure flyers are more fairly reimbursed for their inconvenience," --- said.

It's been 25 years since the U.S. D.O.T. increased the compensation limit.

The new rule does not apply to canceled flights, only involuntary bumping. If passengers choose to give up their seats willingly, it's up to the customer to find and alternative flight.