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9/22/2010 08:32

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Airline Passenger Rights "Final Summary of Discussion"

Final Summary of Discussion
Agency Documents
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Regulation Room is an open government pilot project aimed at increasing the breadth and quality of public participation in the rulemaking process. It is a collaboration between the Cornell eRulemaking Initiative (CeRI) – which owns, designs, and operates the site – and the Department of Transportation, which has selected Regulation Room as its flagship initiative under the Open Government Directive.

From June 2–September 20, 2010, people could use Regulation Room to learn about and discuss a new rule, “Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections,” being proposed by Office of the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOTDepartment of Transportation) . This timeframe coincided almost exactly with the official comment period for the rule, which closed September 23, 2010.

On September 1, the Regulation Room team posted a Draft Summary of the discussion on the peanut allergies issue; on September 13, Draft Summaries for the remaining issues were posted. All registered users were invited by email to review the drafts and suggest additions or changes until Friday, September 17 on the peanut allergy issue, and Monday, September 20 on the remaining  issues. The team reviewed all suggestions and then prepared the Final Summaries that appear below.

On September 22nd these Summaries were submitted, via, to DOT Department of Transportation as a formal public comment in the rulemaking.  (For more on the legal significance of this, see the FAQs.) Registered users received an email notifying them that the Final Summary had been posted on the site and submitted to DOT.

You may submit an individual comment directly to DOT Department of Transportation on the proposed rule by visiting by midnight on Thursday, September 23, 2010.  DOT’s general policy is to consider late-submitted comments to the extent possible, but you should file your comment as close to September 23 as possible.

Materials from the Discussion Phase, including the Draft and Final Summaries, will remain available on Regulation Room for public review. A file of all content submitted by users will be made available to DOT Department of Transportation at its option.  (This file will not include any personally identifiable information you did not choose to make publicly viewable on the site. See Privacy & Conditions.)

Who participated?

During the 110 days the rule was open on Regulation Room, a total of 19,320 unique visitors came to the site. There were 24,441 total visits, with people spending an average of 3.17 minutes on the site. Of the issue posts, the average time on the page was longest for Peanut Allergies (4.14 minutes) and shortest for Cost & Benefits (1.55 minutes). The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was viewed 891 times; the proposed rule text was viewed 212 times.

Anyone could read material on the site, but registration was required to participate in the discussion. 1189 people registered during the time the rule was open.

Based on answers to a survey at registration, only 6% of those who registered and answered the question (70 of 1094) said that they had previously submitted a comment in a federal rulemaking. A second survey question (which appeared the first time a user wanted to submit a comment) asked people to describe their interest in the rule. 621 people chose to answer this optional question. Here are the responses:

  • air traveler:  566
  • other: 36
  • work for US air carrier: 7
  • researcher or expert:  7
  • work for travel agent or Global Distribution Systems (GDSs): 4
  • advocacy group: 1

NOTE:  Regulation Room does not attempt to check whether people correctly identify their interests. For this reason, whenever the summary states a commenter’s interest, the description is based solely on information given by the commenter.

Of the 1189 registered users, 348 posted 931 comments while the discussion was open. Site moderators posted a total of 203 comments. Comments by users were distributed as follows (these totals do not include moderator posts):

  • Tarmac Delay: 85 were made by 69 users
  • Ticket Oversales/Bumping: 75 comments by 61 users
  • Flight Status Information: 50 were made by 42 users
  • Pricing & Advertising: 79 comments were made by 52 users
  • Baggage & Other Fees: 93 were made by 80 users
  • Customer Service Plans: 68 were made by 50 users
  • Peanut Allergies: 454 were made by 185 users
  • Foreign Air Carriers: 15 comments by 15 users
  • Data Reporting Requirements: 6 comments by 6 users
  • Costs & Benefits: 6 comments by an estimated 6 users

13 users posted a total of 24 comments on the Draft Summaries.


Click on the links below to read the Final Summary on each issue.

Tarmac Delay Final Summary

Ticket Oversales/Bumping Final Summary

Flight Status Information Final Summary

Pricing & Advertising Final Summary

Baggage & Other Fees Final Summary

Customer Service Plans Final Summary

Peanut Allergies Final Summary

Foreign Air Carriers Final Summary

Data Reporting Requirements Final Summary

Costs & Benefits Final Summary

Thank you for being part of the Regulation Room experiment in making important federal rulemakings more accessible to the public!

To help us make Regulation Room better, please take this SHORT survey on your experience. (If you’ve already taken the survey, please don’t take it again.