Flying may get just a little less frustrating and a bit more transparent starting Tuesday, when new federal airline passenger protection rules go into effect.
"It's huge," said Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRight, who has fought for the changes for years.
"If you're flying on (Tuesday), you're 400% better off than you were before."
The Association of Passenger Rights also applauded the rules, calling them long overdue.
"If you talk to most air travelers ... traveling on the airlines is about as popular as the U.S. Congress right now," said Brandon Macsata, a spokesman for the group.
Here is what you need to know about the Department of Transportation's new protections:
Bumping compensation gets a boost
Passengers involuntarily bumped from oversold flights are now eligible for more money.
Under the new rule, bumped passengers can get up to $650 if the airline can get them to their destination within a short period of time (within one to two hours of their originally scheduled arrival time for domestic flights), or up to $1,300 if they are delayed for a long time.
Before Tuesday, the amounts were capped at $400 and $800 respectively.
Inflation adjustments will be made to the compensation limits every two years.
Always take cash rather than flight vouchers, Hanni advised.
"Vouchers come with a lot of caveats. Anytime the airline offers you a voucher, it's to their benefit, not yours," Hanni said.
"If they give you a $1,300 voucher, it's worth about a quarter of that to the airline as opposed to having to give you cash."
International flights get tarmac delay limit
International flights stuck on U.S. airport tarmacs more than four hours must now allow passengers to get off the plane or face huge fines, with exceptions allowed for safety, security or air traffic control-related reasons.
Macsata called it a step forward, but said he would have preferred for this protection to be consistent with the three-hour rule that already exists for domestic flights.
The domestic provision has significantly reduced the number of lengthy tarmac delays since it was implemented last year. Fourteen flights were stuck on the tarmac for three hours or more in June, compared to 268 flights in June 2009, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics..
But Hanni said the extra hour allowed for international flights is still an improvement.