New airline rules yet to be enforced, even as DOT levies record fines

Back in August, you might recall, the Transportation Department adopted a set of tough new consumer-protection rules to help airline passengers. In January, it added even more.
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El Al fined by government for “deceptive” luggage reimbursement rules

Article 17 of the Montreal Convention holds airlines liable for loss of or damage to baggage, as long as it took place when it was in their possession. No exceptions.

It looks like El Al had a creative — and ultimately, flawed — interpretation.

At least that’s how the Transportation Department sees it. And the DOT has the power to fine El Al, which is exactly what it just did — to the tune of $30,000. Here’s the consent order (PDF).
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Is the Department of Transportation really protecting air travelers?

happy trailsThat’s a question worth asking after the Secretary of Transportation posted a response to a column I wrote about tarmac delays.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he supported my “advocacy on behalf of airline passengers” but expressed disappointment in the column, which was published in Sunday’s Washington Post, for its perceived criticism of his agency. I’ve left a comment on the Secretary’s blog in response, but I wanted to address one of the bigger questions he raises.

Specifically, do I think DOT is falling down on the job?
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