WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- FlyersRights.org, the largest US based airline passenger group, has filed a formal rulemaking petition with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) calling for a return to the reciprocity rule in time for the holiday season. Under the reciprocity rule, when a flight is cancelled or excessively delayed, an airline must place the passenger on the next available flight, regardless of airline, for no additional charge.
This practice was largely abandoned after airline deregulation in 1978. Since 2010, however, U.S. airlines were allowed to merge into four big carriers, the number of flights has been reduced, and load factors have reached historic highs of about 84%. So when a flight is cancelled, it now takes much longer to find an alternative flight, and passengers are generally limited to the one airline without paying a much higher price.