Congress recently passed a new law “to transfer operation of air traffic services currently provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to a separate not-for-profit corporate entity, and to reauthorize and streamline programs” of the FAA.

For passengers, this means that the bill will require airlines to seat families with children together, without any added fees. Sounds like a no brainier—airlines should have been doing this from the start.

The legislation will also help speed up the security line, and issue refunds quicker for baggage fees when your luggage is lost for 12 hours or more.

Families Sit Together

Airlines may find themselves losing fees because of this bill. Why? The new law states that children under age of 13 have to be seated in a seat next to their parent or guardian (over the age of 13) at no additional cost. As such, airlines will start to lose those seat reservation fees they collect from passengers. Do those fees sound familiar?

The Family Travel Association (FTA) pushed for the new law because they understand the difficulties families face when traveling. Rainer Jenss, founder of FTA mentions how “families represent one of the largest economic drivers of the travel industry, so ensuring their satisfaction isn’t just the right thing to do. It makes economic sense.” Makes sense to us too.

Faster Security Lines

tsa lines

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For TSA, this new change will make sure that the PreCheck lines will stay open and available during peak and high-volume travel times at designated airports. Additionally, screening for standard lines will become faster, especially if PreCheck is not open. This will be important during the upcoming holiday season. Those lines are just out of this world!

Furthermore, the PreCheck program is to become more available and efficient for everyone. How? Through kiosks, phones and online enrollment, the program will offer a secure way for people to register and submit their personal information.

12 Hour Baggage Refund

lost luggage
(Image source)
The new law will force airlines to “promptly and automatically refund ‘any ancillary fees’ paid for checked baggage if it is delivered later than 12 hours after the arrival of a domestic flight or 15 hours for an international flight.” Currently, you only get your luggage fee refunded if, and only if, your luggage is lost.
Air travel has become a mess since it first began in the early 1900s—with added (hidden) fees, smaller seats, and terrible service (at least for many airlines)—a new law is a necessity! Although this new one doesn’t solve all the issues we face when flying, it does solve a few. It’s a step in the right direction, wouldn’t you agree?

(This article first appeared in The Washington Post.)