This New Rule Change Will Make Your Flights a Little Better

It'll be harder and more expensive for airlines to bump you from your flight

United Airlines airplane
An amended DOT rule makes it harder to bump you from a flight.
AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty

Amazingly, given the last year, your flight experience is about to improve.

An amended rule by the Department of Transportation means you will no longer have the (slight) chance of getting bumped from your flight after you’ve already boarded.

As noted by the Federal Register on January 13, this new rule both clarifies that “the maximum amount of Denied Boarding Compensation (DBC) that a carrier may provide to a passenger denied boarding involuntarily is not limited,” and also prohibits airlines from “involuntarily denying boarding to a passenger after the passenger’s boarding pass has been collected or scanned and the passenger has boarded, subject to safety and security exceptions.” The revised rule goes into effect on April 13.

This ruling comes years after Dr. David Dao was removed violently from a United flight after the airline decided it needed the space for a flight crew member that needed to be in Kentucky for flights the following morning, and no one volunteered to give up their seat.

The New York Times points out several other amended rules that are beneficial to passengers, including that bumped passengers get an increase in maximum compensation for delays (it’s $100-$200 more depending on the number of hours, or 200-400 percent of the ticket price, if it is less). The maximum liability for lost, damaged or delayed baggage was also increased, and the airlines will be under stricter requirements for notifying passengers about oversold flights.

Once the pandemic subsides and travel picks up, these rules will be more noticeable. For now, don’t worry too much about getting involuntarily bumped off a plane — instead, realign your travel priorities to include getting a COVID-19 test, which might become mandatory on domestic flights.


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