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FAA Reauthorization Bill Includes Family Seating Rules, Extends Voucher Life

The latest version of the FAA reauthorization bill contains several consumer-friendly regulations, as well as new rules aimed at improving aviation safety.
Families may no longer be charged to sit together, and airline vouchers could be extended for up to five years under new Federal Aviation Administration rules – but airlines would be allowed to advertise fares without taxes and fees.


Reuters reports the new regulations are part of the five year, $105 billion FAA reauthorization bill, which could be approved by the U.S. Senate before the week ending May 3, 2024.


New Regulations Designed to Help U.S. Aviation Maintain “Gold Standard”

The bill comes after both chambers of the U.S. Congress passed a temporary measure to keep the FAA working through May 10, 2024. The latest bipartisan bill weighs in at over 1,000 pages and would keep the agency funded through 2029.


The new bill would force airlines to allow families to sit together on an aircraft without paying for seats in advance. Airlines would also be forced to extend the life of any vouchers or credits from the customary 12 months to five years.


While the new bill would mandate a minimum seat size for airlines, it will direct the Transportation Department to add a seat size dashboard to their website. Any minimum seat size rules will still be at the discretion of the FAA.


Safety measures will also be taken up in the reauthorization legislation. Airlines would be required to have a 25-hour cockpit recording device, while airports would also need to install enhanced surface technology with the goal of avoiding ground collisions. Despite some debate, the law will also keep the pilot retirement age at 65, instead of moving it to 67.


Finally, those caught behaving poorly on airplanes could pay more for their transgressions. If passed, the bill would increase the maximum civil penalty from $25,000 per violation to $75,000. In a joint statement, the top aviation lawmakers said: “The FAA needs strong and decisive direction from Congress to ensure America’s aviation system maintains its gold standard.”

JimP May 11, 2024

Soon, we'll have the ubiquitous "resort fees" on every flight.

60triumph May 2, 2024

So I am being financially penalized for being able to put my fork down and not bringing my family?  These are not "free/no cost" regulations.  They cost the airlines and all the extra costs just get spread to other flyers.  Stinks.

lplaggemier May 2, 2024

Airlines will never give up that fee revenue because of the federal tax loophole. https://www.cnn.com/travel/checked-baggage-tax-rule/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.cnn.com/travel/checked-baggage-tax-rule/index.html

smartytravel May 2, 2024

Do we think that this crap is actually going to be implemented?

Advertising prices without taxes and fees? That sounds like a complete scam (already practiced by the hotels).

Airlines are going to keep advertised prices the same as right now with taxes except at checkout, they will be adding the fees. 

JulienMSP May 1, 2024

Nope. Sorry--I have ZERO sympathy for "families" that travel together and all the crap they pull at aiprorts.
Oh ONE person in your family needs extra time to board? then why the hell does the rest of your pack need to walk grandma down that aisle and why the HELL are you not DONE boarding by the time F is ready to board? Move outta my way.
What I'm also seeing is a problem with getting rid of seat fees is that it means more and more people might have to move. God forbid this happens to me, I will refuse.
Allowing anyone to advertise a service WITHOUT taxes and fees leads to false advertising and deceptive practices.

I see neither of these as "customer friendly."
No, we need the following changes:

1) Aircraft needs to have a "MAX" number of economy seats per aicraftt type. Legroom and "elbow" room need to be regulated since it's clear the airlines can't be trusted to do it themselves. 
2) Stop allowing airlines to oversell flights. Since most fares are non-refundable, it makes no sense why they've been allowed to do this for so long when people not showing up just screw themselves, not the airline.
3) Stop making it impossible to make changes to my tickets. If I can't go somewhere but someone needs to go in my place? the ticket should be exchangeable (without a fee) for one under a new name.
4) Any involuntary bumps should ALLOW moving someone to another airline.