Airline Passenger Rights: The Federal Role in Aviation Consumer Protection

The deregulation of the airline industry in the United States in 1978 eliminated most governmental control over most business practices of airlines. However, the federal government continues to regulate certain practices for the protection of the airlines’ customers, in addition to its long-standing role in overseeing air safety. Congressional interest in the rights of airline passengers became intense between 2007 and 2009, when a series of delays stranded passengers aboard airplanes at U.S. airports for 10 hours or longer. Since then, Congress has strengthened passengers’ rights under federal law, and many Members of Congress have continued to follow aviation consumer issues closely. This report examines aviation consumer protections in the post-deregulation era. It explains the roles of Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in protecting airline consumers, and discusses some major passenger rights issues and related laws and regulations.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This report is updated periodically while the text remains available at the URL indicated above. The actual date of publication, pagination, and other features may differ from that indicated in this record.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Congressional Research Service

    Washington, DC  United States 
  • Authors:
    • Tang, Rachel Y
  • Publication Date: 2015-7-21


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 17p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01608701
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 22 2016 1:47PM