New Airline Law Will Make Flying Less of a Nightmare For Parents and Pregnant Women

Among other things, the bill would also require airlines to be upfront about the reasons for delayed flights and to end "involuntary bumping."

by Raz Robinson

For a lot of parents, flying is miserable. That’s not just because children can make sitting down to do anything for more than five-hours feel impossible. Rather, it’s because more often than not, airlines seem more committed to aggravating passengers than they are to facilitating anything that could be mistaken for convenience. Now, thanks to a bill presented by Congress in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, flying may just get a whole lot easier for some parents.

At 2:52 AM Congress released a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). While more than a few major changes were made, the bill would notably require airlines to let pregnant women board flights first as well as give passengers traveling with children the opportunity to check their stroller. The only catch to the second new rule is that the parent checking the stroller must be traveling with a small child.

Interestingly, the bill was originally proposed in an effort to make flight change and baggage fees more reasonable. Though that fight ended up being a lost cause, the new provisions would be a worthy enough consolation prize. Beyond the big win for traveling parents, the new bill would generally make it such that airlines have less power over their customers in the ways that really matter.

For example, it “prohibits involuntary bumping of passengers who have boarded a plane,” meaning there can be no more instances of passengers being forcibly removed from flights to make space for airline staff. Passengers would also have to be refunded “for services they paid for but did not receive.” So, no meal on your 8-hour flight to London? Partial refund. Out of blankets on the plane? Partial refund. The applications for that one seem a little endless though.

The bill has to pass before September 30th to go into effect, but it’s still unclear how much time Congress will actually have to spend debating all 1,200 pages of it. Let’s hope for the best though. Frustrated parents the worldwide could use the win.