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DOT Acts On Delays and Congestion

April 17, 2008 By: George Dooley

In the face of widespread public dissatisfaction with air travel, Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Mary E. Peters announced a series of new aviation measures including doubling the compensation for passengers bumped on flights, slot allocations for New York’s LaGuardia Airport and new air corridors to ease congestion.

Under the new rule, which goes into effect next month, fliers who are involuntarily bumped would receive up to $400 if they are rescheduled to reach their destination within two hours of their original arrival time, four hours for international flights, and up to $800 if they are not rerouted within that timeframe.  

The new rule also covers more flights, including those operated with aircraft seating 30 people or more (the current rule covers flights with 60 seats or more). The amount of these payments are determined by the price of the ticket and the length of the delay, and are in addition to the value of the passenger’s ticket, which the flyer can use for alternate transportation or have refunded if not used. 

The DOT also announced new air traffic measures designed to help cut delays this summer. The first involves new and greater flexibility for aircraft to use alternative routes in the sky to avoid severe weather. The DOT also proposed two options as new ways to manage congestion at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Included is the sure to be controversial auctioning of slots.

The DOT has launched a series of aviation consumer forums to hear from consumers and educate air travelers about their rights and responsibilities. The first DOT-hosted forum is scheduled for April 17, in Miami, which will be followed by public meetings in Chicago and San Francisco. Visit or

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