bumper carsThe Obama administration’s recent proposal to significantly increase compensation for airline passengers bumped from a flight means that airlines will have a lot more incentive to persuade passengers to give up their seats willingly.

Currently, passengers who are forced to give up their seat and don’t arrive at their destination within two hours (four hours for international flights) of their original scheduled time receive a $400 check.  They receive $800 if they land later than that.

Under the new proposal, which would go into effect later this year, passengers denied boarding would receive between $650 and $1,300.  A $1,300 check suddenly makes getting involuntarily bumped seem a lot more palatable.  And a lot less likely to happen.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Spirit Airlines has canceled all flights through June 15 after pilots went on strike over the weekend.  According to the airline’s website, passengers scheduled to fly through June 15 would be credited the full amount of their purchased tickets, plus $100 for future flights.  Pilots said they are seeking pay on par with low- fare competitors Jet Blue, AirTran, and Southwest Airlines.
  • Continental Airlines introduced the benefit last fall on its Chase credit card, followed by Delta with its premium Skymiles American Express card.  Both cards waive the fee for a flier’s first checked bag – a $50 charge on a round trip — for up to nine people traveling together on the cardmember’s reservation.  It sounds like a good deal, but there’s a catch: another fee.  In the case of Continental, it’s the $85 annual fee for the OnePass Plus card, and for Delta it’s $95 for the Gold Skymiles card.
  • Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and Air France-KLM Group have begun introducing seatbelt-mounted airbags in their economy-class cabins as authorities tighten regulations aimed at reducing the risk of fatalities in plane crashes.