US to move faster to address unfair, deceptive airline consumer practices

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a new rule to address unfair airline and consumer practices. 

The department is planning on creating more regulations regarding refunds, baggage costs and other fees, and this rule will ensure the policies are enacted in a more timely manner. 

The rule simplifies and speeds up the hearing procedures the department must use when issuing new customer protections that prohibit unfair or deceptive practices by airlines and ticket agents. 

Currently, if the department wants to implement a new protection policy, a hearing can be requested to examine if the policy is valid, slowing down the implementation process. 

The rule announced Monday ensures interested parties will still be able to examine the policy and that the department has enough flexibility to prevent the policy from being delayed. The rule ensures hearings will also only be granted if they are in the public interest. 

"This rule improves the Department’s ability to issue timely rules that protect airline consumers from unfair and deceptive practices, a responsibility the Department takes seriously," said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg.

President Joe Biden, when speaking at the White House Competition Council Monday, included this move in a line of many that reverse "hurt" to workers, consumers and small businesses.

"In the coming weeks and months, Americans can expect to see more — more protections for farmers and ranchers selling products like beef, pork, and poultry; more options and better prices for consumers; more clarity on the actual price you’ll pay for high-speed Internet services and airline tickets," he said. 

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Passengers move through Ronald Reagan National Airport on the day before the Thanksgiving holiday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

RELATED: Flight canceled? Here’s how to get a refund

In recent weeks, droves of flights have been disrupted due to a mix of winter weather and a swath of new COVID-19 cases, forcing an increasing number of crew members to call in sick. It's created "the storm for travelers," according to AAA.

In early January, thousands of flights were canceled. While a canceled flight is the last thing anyone wants to hear, there is a silver lining: the Department of Transportation regulations guarantee you a refund.

This story was reported from Detroit.