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Taking to the Friendly Skies? The Rules Have Changed

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New airfare rules are in effect. If you’re planning on traveling, here’s what you need to know.

The airline industry implemented five new rules. Here’s the rundown:

Taxes and Fees are Included – Advertised prices were always great, until you went to book. Then the airlines piled on all kinds of taxes, fees and quid pro quos. Starting today, you will have a more accurate idea of what your ticket will cost because rules now state that taxes and fees must be included in the advertised price. Though the price includes the mandatory taxes and fees, but not optional baggage charges. Those fees are now supposed to be prominently displayed on the carrier’s website, not hidden in the fine print and they can’t be automatically tacked on to the ticket price.

2. You Have 24 Hours to Cancel – As long as you booked your flight a week in advance, you can hold your reservation without having to pay for it or cancel it without penalty for 24 hours after making it. Even if you used a travel website.

3. You Must be Told About Delays – In the new rules, airlines must notify you via email, phone or via a sign in the airport if the delay is any longer than 30 minutes. They also must notify passengers and the public immediately of flight cancellations, flight diversions or if a plane is delayed on the tarmac.

4. Baggage Fees Must be Disclosed – Instead of finding out when you get to the airport that it’s going to be $35 to check your suitcase, airlines have to tell you how much it’s going to cost when you make your reservation. They also have to tell you about any other baggage fees if you’re switching planes or airlines.

5. Your Ticket Price Can’t Be Raised – If you have purchased a ticket, airlines can no longer raise the air fare and charge you the difference. It sounds crazy, but it did happen. Under the old rules, if oil prices went up, so did air fare and if you’d already booked your seat, you were still required to pay the difference before you boarded the plane. No more. Once you’ve booked your flight and paid for your seat, that’s the price you paid.

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