Customer Service Plan.
(a) Adoption of Plan.
Each covered carrier shall adopt a Customer Service Plan applicable to its scheduled flights and shall adhere to the plan's terms.
(b) Contents of Plan.
Each Customer Service Plan shall address the following subjects and comply with the minimum standards set forth:
Disclosing on the carrier's website, at the ticket counter, or when a customer calls the carrier's reservation center to inquire about a fare or to make a reservation, that the lowest fare offered by the carrier may be available elsewhere if that is the case;
Notifying consumers of known delays, cancellations, and diversions as required by 14 CFR 259.8 of this chapter ;
Delivering baggage on time, including making every reasonable effort to return mishandled baggage within twenty-four hours, compensating passengers for reasonable expenses that result due to delay in delivery, as required by 14 CFR part 254 for domestic flights and as required by applicable international agreements for international flights, and reimbursing passengers for any fee charged to transport a bag if that bag is lost;
Allowing reservations to be held without payment or cancelled without penalty for a defined amount of time;
Where ticket refunds are due, providing prompt refunds, as required by 14 CFR 374.3 and CFR part 226 for credit card purchases, and within 20 days after receiving a complete refund request for cash and check purchases, including refunding fees charged to a passenger for optional services that the passenger was unable to use due to an oversale situation or flight cancellation;
Properly accommodating passengers with disabilities, as required by part 382 of this chapter, and other special-needs passengers as set forth in the carrier's policies and procedures, including during lengthy tarmac delays;
Meeting customers' essential needs during lengthy tarmac delays as required by § 259.4 of this chapter and as provided for in each covered carrier's contingency plan;
Handling “bumped” passengers with fairness and consistency in the case of oversales as required by part 250 of this chapter and as described in each carrier's policies and procedures for determining boarding priority;
Disclosing cancellation policies, frequent flyer rules, aircraft seating configuration, and lavatory availability on the selling carrier's website, and upon request, from the selling carrier's telephone reservations staff;
Notifying consumers in a timely manner of changes in their travel itineraries;
Ensuring responsiveness to consumer problems as required by § 259.7 of this chapter; and
Identifying the services it provides to mitigate passenger inconveniences resulting from flight cancellations and misconnections.
(c) Self-auditing of plan and retention of records.
Each carrier that is required to adopt a Customer Service Plan shall audit its own adherence to its plan annually. Carriers shall make the results of their audits available for the Department's review upon request for two years following the date any audit is completed.
[Docket No. DOT-OST-2010-0140, 76 FR 23165, Apr. 25, 2011]
Effective Date Note:
At 76 FR 45181, July 28, 2011, the revision of § 259.5(b)(4) printed at 76 FR 23165, Apr. 25, 2011 was delayed until January 24, 2012. For the convience of the user, the revised (b)(4) is set forth as follows:
Customer Service Plan.
Allowing reservations to be held at the quoted fare without payment, or cancelled without penalty, for at least twenty-four hours after the reservation is made if the reservation is made one week or more prior to a flight's departure; or more