AUSTIN (KXAN) - New airline regulations announced in April take effect Tuesday after the government laid down the law, requiring commercial airlines to take better care of its passengers in times of delays or confinement on planes that impose hardships on travelers.
The airlines now have to put a bigger emphasis on customer service.
New "Passenger Bill of Rights" protections newly in effect require airlines to refund passengers' baggage fees if their bags are lost, and provide consumers involuntarily bumped from flights with more compensation than they had in the past. Under the new rule, bumped passengers subject to short delays will receive compensation equal to double the price of their tickets up to $650, while passengers with longer delays are required to be paid four times the value of their tickets, up to $1,300.
Inflation adjustments will be made to those compensation limits every two years, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The new regulations also expand the current ban on lengthy tarmac delays, and airlines must post information on their websites about all hidden fees, such as for food, cancellations or flight changes, costs for upgraded or advanced seating. A rule that requires disclosure about any and all taxes goes into effect in January.
The new rules also require there can be no post-purchase price increases to tickets.
Travelers in Austin said the new rules give them "peace of mind."
"I think it's a good thing. It'll make airlines accountable for delays that occurs that passengers have no control over," said Kyle Snyder, a traveler at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
A man is expected to survive after being stabbed in the head at the Salvation Army shelter in Downtown Austin at about 3:45 a.m. Friday.
As the Austin area prepares itself for an impending winter storm on Friday, Dec. 6, many schools have already announced delays.
Investigators are looking into an overnight fire that left one woman with third-degree burns.
Caldwell County residents gathered Thursday evening to organize their fight against a proposed landfill that they say poses a hazard that they don't need.
The pastor of the Austin church attended by the teacher who was killed Thursday in Benghazi remembered him as a spiritual friend dedicated to improving the lives of others.