NH Attorney General’s office works to increase airline passenger protections

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Attorney General John M. Formella announces that the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) has agreed to a new Airline Passenger Protection Partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Justice.

CONCORD, NH – Attorney General John M. Formella announces that the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) has agreed to a new Airline Passenger Protection Partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Justice (NH DOJ) to better ensure consumer complaints made by Granite Staters against airlines and ticket agents are properly reviewed and resolved.

New Hampshire’s memorandum of understanding with US DOT outlines a new process for addressing consumer complaints, strengthens the State’s ability to investigate complaints, and ensures that US DOT will prioritize the review of complaints referred by NH DOJ for potential action when the air carrier or ticket agent is unwilling to address the complaints directly with NH DOJ.

“This new partnership comes at a critical time, as we know that the airlines and the US DOT are receiving large volumes of complaints from passengers about flight disruptions, lack of refunds, and lost or delayed baggage concerns,” said Attorney General Formella. “We hope this new agreement will better protect Granite State airline passengers from unfair or deceptive practices and hold airlines accountable by strengthening the State and US DOT’s ability to police violations of federal aviation consumer protection requirements.”

Federal law places central responsibility for protecting airline consumers with the US DOT. Under this historic agreement, the NH DOJ will be authorized to investigate consumer complaints against air carriers, ticket agents, and other air travel companies supervised by the US DOT. The NH DOJ will work with consumers and companies to resolve complaints, and if necessary, will refer complaints to the US DOT’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP). The OACP will prioritize their review, include NH DOJ staff on letters of inquiry to those companies based on those referrals, and consult with the NH DOJ before determining next steps. The US DOT will also provide technical assistance and training to staff in the NH DOJ and will meet with the NH DOJ to assess ongoing efforts and to update New Hampshire on any actions taken in response to state-referred complaints.

Attorney General Formella has urged the federal government to strengthen protections for airline passengers and asked Congress to authorize state attorneys general enforcement of federal consumer protection laws governing the airline industry.

The agreement will last for two years, and New Hampshire and the US DOT may agree to extend it at two-year intervals after it ends. New Hampshire is one of 25 states or territories that signed an agreement with the US DOT or expressed interest in executing such an agreement.


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