Call to Action, Double Header

FAA Reauthorization Bill Moving

Let’s Thank the DOT!

TSA Admits Mistreating Elderly Women

What Kate’s Saying

FAA Reauthorization Bill Moving-Time to Act

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

We’ve been fighting for years to move our Three-Hour Tarmac Rule from aCongress LogoDepartment of Transportation ruling to a part of the United States Code-a matter of law instead of a matter of regulation. Our vehicle for that is the FAA Air Transportation and Safety Improvement Act, commonly known as the FAA Reauthorization Bill. Congress has kicked this particular can down the road with 22 continuing resolutions since 2007.

When the 112th Congress first met last year, we were optimistic about the chances for the bill’s passage. It didn’t happen. Disagreements over other bill provisions raised tension between House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure chairman John Mica and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and doomed the effort. Congress was even unable to pass a continuing resolution last August, resulting in shutdown of some FAA functions.

Suddenly, the chances for bill passage have improved. Congressional leaders seem to have reached agreement, and are poised to finally send this bill to the President’s desk. Many of our inside sources tell us that this is happening, and it’s happening now!

WHAT DO WE NEED?

We need to fight back or risk losing the three-hour tarmac delay protection.

We need to turn the three-hour tarmac rule into public law. Why? The Department of Transportation can be forced by the airlines to change the rule at any time. Even a simple shift in administration could cause the three-hour rule to disappear in an instant.

If the bill passes with the House version of airline passenger rights, it will repeal the fantastic progress we’ve made so far. We must not sit idly by now, because long tarmac delays could once again become a way of life.

But the airlines cannot change public law. That’s why they are lobbying hard to prohibit this from happening. Do not let them succeed!

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

We’ve made it easy to help.

We need as many volunteers as possible to contact congressional leaders concerned with this issue AND your personal representatives. We need to let them know that we will not accept the airlines’ attack on passenger rights and we want the Three-Hour Tarmac Rule to be made into permanent law. Also, we must contact our Senate champions, Senator
s Boxer and Snowe, to let them know that we appreciate their efforts and to ask that they help take the language over the finish line.

PHONE CALLING

The most effective way to communicate our message is by making a phone call. Never called a Congressman? It’s easy to do.

Please volunteer to help by calling the LOCAL offices of your personal representatives. You can find their phone numbers here:

http://whoismyrepresentative.com/

The site provides both your representative and senators, based on your zip code.

Deliver this message:

I’m an air traveler who’s very concerned that a strong Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights won’t be in the final version of the FAA Reauthorization Bill.

The DOT rule with a maximum tarmac time of three hours is working!

Airline passengers deserve permanent protection that Congress can offer with the Passengers’ Bill of Rights included in the final version of the FAA Bill.

Please urge the Conference Committee to include the Senate language mandating the Three-Hour Tarmac Rule in the final version of the FAA Reauthorization Bill.

It’s as simple as that. Calls are short and quick but very effective.

FAXING

You can help by sending a fax, too. Please fax the LOCAL offices of the Senate & House Conference Committee members listed in the chart below. Also fax the LOCAL office of your personal representatives. You can find your representative’s and senators’ phone numbers here:http://whoismyrepresentative.com/.

Here’s a fax suggestion:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/12300159/FAA%20Bill%20Final%201-23-12.pdf

Please print this FAX form, fill it in, and send it to your senators and representative. Also send it to leadership offices at these FAX numbers, and call their offices, asking to speak to their transportation aides:

  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
    • FAX: 202-224-7327
    • Voice: 202-224-3542
  • Chairman Jay Rockefeller:
    • FAX: (202) 224-7665
    • Voice: (202) 224-6472
  • House Speaker John Boehner:
    • FAX: (202) 225-0704
    • Voice: (202) 225-6205
  • Chairman John Mica:
    • FAX: (202) 226-0821
    • Voice: 202-225-4035
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:
    • FAX: 202-225-8259
    • Voice: (202) 225-4965

CONTACT SENATORS BOXER AND SNOWE

Our sources tell us that our airline passenger protection language is in danger of being traded for something else in the bill. We cannot allow that to happen! Senators Boxer and Snowe put that language in the Senate version of the bill, and would have to agree to the horse trade. Thank them for their work and urge them to keep the Senate language in the final bill.
Here are the Senators’ contact points:

Let the person you talk to know how much you appreciate their senator’s efforts and ask them to keep the Senate language in the final bill. You might deliver this simple message:

As an air traveler, I very much appreciate the Senator’s work to include strong airline passenger rights language in the FAA Reauthorization Bill. Please ask the Senator to carry the passenger rights language she created in the Senate bill over the finish line in the final bill.

You can also FAX the senators, using the FAX forms we’ve prepared. Senator Boxer doesn’t publish her Washington, DC, FAX number. You can use the contact link listed above to find the FAX number for her local offices.

A FIGHTING CHANCE TO SAVE THE THREE-HOUR TARMAC RULE

Lobbyists for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airline Transport Association (ATA) will be trying hard to influence legislators to exclude the three-hour tarmac rule and airline passenger rights.

We must fight back!

We need some help with the cost of press releases on this and other topics. If you haven’t donated in a while, please take a moment to visit the FlyersRights.org donation page.

This may be our last chance to propel the Three-Hour Tarmac Rule from a Department of Transportation rule to its rightful place in permanent public law this year.

You can fight back by volunteering to phone and fax the congressional leadership AND your personal representatives and senators. Please also contact Senators Boxer and Snowe to guard against Congress trading away our airline passenger rights. You can make a huge difference by volunteering for our cause. We’ve all fought for so long, and victory is in sight!

Let’s Thank the DOT!

For the past few years, the top level staff members at the Department of Transportation have been among our best allies. In Kate’s almost 100 trips to Washington, DC, she has gone from a deer-in-the-headlights supplicant in the Secretary’s conference room to a respected voice for airline passenger rights in that same room.

Five years ago, hundreds of flights and tens of thousands of passengers wereDOT Logostranded on the tarmac every year. Fees were just starting to blossom. It was becoming more difficult every day to make apples to apples comparison when shopping for airline tickets. If the airlines lost your bag, they shrugged their shoulders and kept your baggage fees.

Today, all of that has changed. The Three-Hour Tarmac Rule (four hours for international flights) has almost eliminated extended tarmac delays. Airlines must disclose their fees and government-imposed taxes and fees up front, giving us a way to compare fares. When the airline loses your bag, they will refund the money they charged you to check it. Other new protections have made our airline travel easier.

Why? Not because of Congressional action. This progress is because our friends at DOT stepped up to the issues and forced the airlines to do what they should have done if they truly had the customer focus that fosters successful business. They listened to your voice, wrote rules to address your concerns, and implemented them through their exhaustive process. Other new protections provide greater flexibility to us as airline passengers.

Now it is time to thank or friends at the DOT for their incredible focus on airline traveler protections. This message is a call to action, and will take less than five minutes of your time! The DOT maintains a complaint web page, and the form entries are taken very seriously by the Department. Your positive comments will make their way to the senior leadership of the department.

To make this easy, we’ve set up a web page to help you. Please go towww.flyersrights.org/thankyou now and send a message to the Consumer Division and Enforcement Division folks who have worked so hard to develop rules that have provided us, the air traveling public, with such meaningful and effective protections.

Take a couple of minutes to provide positive feedback to a group of people who have made your air travel experience better. Don’t forget to hit the “I Sent the Message” button at the bottom when you’ve finished! We have a goal of 5,000 signatures by February 14th, the fifth anniversary of the JetBlue tarmac debacle at JFK. It’s an ambitious goal, but we believe our members can show their true spirit with this campaign.

TSA Admits Mistreating Elderly Women

Late last year, TSA’s mistreatment of two elderly women made national news. Women harrassed by TSALenore Zimmerman of Long Island and Ruth Sherman of Sunrise, FL, said that TSA officers had forced them to partially disrobe and otherwise humiliated and mistreated them as they tried to take flights.

The TSA, of course, flatly denied that it happened. According to the New York Daily News reporting of the Zimmerman incident,

A Transportation Security Administration spokesman said “proper procedures were followed” during the encounter.

But on Saturday, the TSA went further, saying that a strip search “was not conducted in this case.”

The agency used their standard disclaimer, “Procedures were followed,” and expressed regret that “the passenger feels she had an unpleasant screening experience.”

No regret that poorly trained, overzealous government agents treated American citizens deplorably, mind you, just regret that the passengers felt they had been abused.

Now, two months later, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledges thatscreeners violated standard practice in their treatment of the two elderly, ailing women. They still maintain that the two women were not asked to disrobe.

Both women swiftly responded. Ms. Zimmerman said “They’re lying.” “They asked me to pull my sweatpants down, and now they’re not telling you the truth,” Sherman fumed.

Clearly, TSA officials see these incidents were just public relations matters, not egregious violations of two innocent Americans’ constitutional rights. Their backpedalling from their original position drops the credibility of all TSA’s cookie cutter denials to zero.

As always, Flyersrights demands and end to Security Theater and use of security procedures that are effective, safe, constitutional, and consistently applied.

What Kate’s Saying

Huffington Post

yle=”color: rgb(17, 17, 204); “>Kate Hanni

Your Flight’s Cancelled: Now What

MarketWatch

FlyersRights.org Heralds Another Major Victory for Consumers

This article was picked up by 154 news outlets!


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