Friendly Skies to Get Friendlier this Fall

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Traveling by air frustrates many people every day. However, the federal government is riding to the rescue with new passenger protections that could actually put money back in your pocket the next time an airline makes a mistake with your travel plans.

Taking to the friendly skies can cost a small fortune, even after buying the ticket.

"They charge me for pillow, for blanket, they charge me for everything," one airline passenger told ABC News.

Soon the government will force airlines to pay customers for their annoying travel mistakes.

"They know how many seats are on the plane. There is no reason to overbook a plane," another passenger said.

Air carriers bumped more than 65,000 people from over-sold flights last year. But later this year, new rules will require that bumped passengers receive a cash refund - four times what you paid up to $1,300 -- if passengers are delayed more than two hours.

And if the airline manages to get that passenger on another flight in less than two hours, they would still get double what ticket cost -- up to $650 in cash.

"Passengers like to be treated with fairness. They like to be treated with respect, particularly when they're paying large sums of money to board an airplane," U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood said.

Customers already pay to check their luggage with most airlines. But somehow more than 2 million of those bags didn't make it to their final destinations in time last year.

With the new rules, customers who land without those checked bags can expect a refund for that lost luggage -- in some cases, up to $200.

Changes for all U.S. airlines begin Aug. 23 -- just in time for the busy holiday travel days, including Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

And another change you can also expect to see this fall -- those hidden taxes and fees that can drive up the cost of your ticket -- must soon be displayed in every advertised price.

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Efrem Graham

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.