Nightly News | April 20, 2011
>>> good evening. airline passengers in this country have felt abused for a long time. as of this summer, help will finally arrive for many of them. if you fly then you know, they now charge for most everything that used to be free in part of the ticket price. flights are crowded, the lines are long, services are few, bags get lost, and true customer satisfaction can seem like a quaint relic of the change. now new rules of pricing and protection for those who fly coming from the department of transportation is where we begin tonight with nbc's lisa meyers in washington.
>>> it's spring break, so lots of people are traveling today, and complaining about hidden costs . in chicago --
>> i think it's unfair. i think if everybody has the information outright, they can make better decisions for themselves.
>> reporter: in atlanta.
>> i thought i found a deal on the ticket itself. i had to pay a lot of extra money with the nickel and dime things they got us for.
>> reporter: that's about to change. under the new rules that take effect in late august, every airfare must now include all government taxes and fees. what's more, airlines must prominently disclose all fees they could hit passengers with during a flight, fees for baggage, better seats, meals, fees to cancel or change a reservation.
>> it means total transparency on what the cost of the ticket is, they're going to be treated with the level of service they deserve for the cost.
>> reporter: if you get bumped from an oversold flight, the airlines will have to pay you much more, up to $650 if you're delayed a short time. up to $1,300 for a long delay. if your bag is lost, the baggage fee will be refunded. also, another new rule to deal with nightmarish tarmac delays such as the almost two-hour delay suffered by jetblue passengers on a runway in 2002007. last year, the government imposed a three-hour limit on how long passengers on domestic flights can be stuck on a tarmac, which reduced delays but also increased flight cancellations as airlines moved to avoid big fines. now there will be a similar four-hour limit on international flights.
>> the airlines say they're already moving in the same direction as these new rules. a lot of people would say that's disingenuous on their part. the fact is their feet are being held to the fire.
>>> tonight, the airline industry says it appreciates the d.o.t. shares its goal of treating customers fairly and providing the best possible service and it insists, brian, that service is improving with fewer misplaced bags and oversold flights.
>>> lisa starting us off from washington, thanks.