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Travel Guard Discusses New Airline Baggage Rules

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Travel insurance carriers often discuss relevant travel topics that would be useful to potential customers planning a vacation.  Travel Guard recently posted a story about the new airline baggage rules on the travel news section of their website.

Frequent fliers have certainly encountered the baggage fees that many airlines are now imposing. These fees aren’t widely published and can sometimes be a nasty surprise at check-in.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is looking to change that by introducing a new database to track baggage fees. Under the new Automated Carrier Baggage Rules (ACBR), airlines must submit detailed layouts of their charges for the IATA, who will then make them available online for travelers’ benefit.

The introduction of baggage fees is especially complicated when a traveler plans an itinerary that uses separate airlines, who most likely have different baggage rules. It can be a headache trying to untangle which carrier’s baggage rules the traveler is subject to.

Rules vary between airlines according to size, weight, number of bags, and the traveler’s status. For example, some airlines allow free bag checks with enrollment in their frequent flyer programs or upgrading to a business class ticket.

Some speculate that having all the rules readily available in one location may cause airlines to begin to lower or eliminate the fees in a bid to compete with each other.

According to the Department of Transportation, ancillary fees such as checked bags now account for 6.5 percent of airlines’ total revenue, raising $7.8 billion in 2009.

If airline baggage fees become more transparent to the travelers, then it is likely that more people will be checking their luggage.  Travel insurance can provide protection and peace of mind for travelers that plan on checking their bags.

When travelers arrive at the destination, but their luggage does not, baggage delay coverage helps relieve some of the stress.  This benefit reimburses the costs of essential items, such as a change of clothes and toiletries, while the vacationers are without their bags.  There is normally a set amount of time that must pass before this benefit is available, anywhere from 3 to 24 hours.

Travel insurance coverage can help if bags are permanently lost, damaged or stolen.  Baggage and personal items loss will reimburse the traveler for the cost of those items.  This benefit is secondary in some plans, meaning that any other payable source, such as compensation from the airlines or another insurance option must first be exhausted before a travel insurance claim can be paid.  Most policies have set dollar limits per item and even specific items dollar limits and exclusions. Always refer to the certificate of insurance for details.

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