With the new law, “passengers won’t have to spend a ton of time tracking down a refund when the airline doesn’t deliver,” according to U.S. Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, during remarks on the Senate floor last month.
The measure in a Federal Aviation Administration re-authorization extension bill signed into law in July directs the U.S. Transportation Secretary to issue regulations on the matter within a year.
The new regulations would require an airline to “promptly provide to a passenger an automated refund for any ancillary fees paid by the passenger for checked baggage” if the bag is not delivered within 12 hours of arrival of a domestic flight, or within 15 hours of arrival of an international flight. The passenger would need to notify the airline of the lost or delayed baggage to get the refund.
U.S. airlines collected more than $900 million in baggage fees in the first quarter of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. American Airlines collected the most baggage fees among U.S. airlines, with $262.5 million in baggage fees in the quarter. Delta was in the No. 2 spot with $197.7 million in baggage fee revenue in the same period.