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Regulatory Evaluation on Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections

To date, Econometrica has prepared a short-form regulatory evaluation about a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) final rule that implements the provision of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 requiring that U.S. carriers accept certain musical instruments as carry-on or checked baggage.

Developing the RIA involved conducting research into current U.S. carrier policies and estimating the benefits and costs of the final rule. To estimate the potential benefits, Econometrica examined:

  1. The distribution of instruments played by professional musicians.
  2. The extent to which musicians currently encounter difficulties in carrying or checking instruments.
  3. The extent to which any loss of income from not being able to perform at events that require air travel could be mitigated by additional performances for which instrument transportation is not a problem.

The costs examined included costs to covered carriers that must modify or create musical instrument carriage policies, update guidance for consumers, and train carrier personnel in new requirements. Econometrica used carrier website data to examine which U.S. carriers had specific musical instrument carriage plans and the degree of specificity of those plans. Econometrica also examined data on industry employment to determine the labor categories of employees most likely to be impacted by the musical instrument policies and estimated the opportunity cost of time that these employees would spend learning new policies.

DOT also expects to propose requirements relating to carriers’ frequent flyer programs in the upcoming notice of proposed rulemaking and final rule.