America Airlines – U.S. finalizes new guidelines sought by airways on client protections
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Transportation Division on Friday mentioned it could add new procedural hurdles earlier than the federal government might bar most further unfair or misleading practices by airways, in a transfer sought by the carriers.
The division is codifying a definition of what constitutes unfair or misleading practices. It’s going to requires a three-pronged evaluation earlier than adopting new guidelines deeming airline practices unfair or misleading and require evidentiary hearings earlier than most new guidelines are adopted.
Many Democrats in Congress urged the division to desert the hassle.
Consultant Katie Porter mentioned in July that the rule would “weaken enforcement of airline passenger protections.” 4 senators together with Maria Cantwell, the highest Democrat on the Commerce Committee, mentioned “industry groups could exploit these new procedural hoops — which the airlines themselves appear to be driving — to delay any DOT action to protect consumers.”
The Transportation Division mentioned Friday the brand new guidelines that apply to airways and ticket brokers present “greater transparency and predictability on how the department conducts its aviation consumer protection rulemaking and enforcement activities.”
The Worldwide Air Transport Affiliation and Airlines for America, a commerce group that had sought the principles representing main airways together with American Airlines, Delta Air Strains and United Airlines, mentioned earlier the proposed guidelines would “benefit the public by further enhancing the transparency, predictability, and consistency of DOT’s rulemaking and enforcement procedures.”
Southwest Airlines mentioned DOT beforehand had “not adopted clearly articulated standards or policy statements for determining what constitutes unfairness or deception… Too often this has resulted in overbroad interpretations of DOT’s authority.”
The definitions are modeled on the Federal Commerce Commision (FTC) requirements on unfair or misleading practices.
FTC Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter had urged the division to not finalize the rule “because it will seriously hamper the department’s ability to fulfill its statutory mission of protecting aviation consumers.”
The division rejected a number of further requests from airways, declining requests to undertake a “clear and convincing evidence” normal for enforcement or a brand new “intent to deceive” requirement.
The brand new guidelines change into closing 30 days after being printed within the Federal Register.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Modifying by Leslie Adler and Alistair Bell