Stop the Air Traffic Controller Furloughs
Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights.org called on DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Huerta explain to the public why it did not designate FAA air traffic controllers (ATC) as essential federal employees making them exempt from the sequestration and why it has not followed the principle of “graceful degradation” instead of across-the-board cuts at choke points like Chicago and New York City, which could cause massive nationwide flight delays.
FlyersRights.org also supports DOT in requiring a waiver of change fees and allowing passengers to fly on another airline with vacant seats when their flight is seriously delayed or cancelled.
As to what airline passengers can do in this unprecedented situation, in the short term we advise passengers to;
Check the FAA web site at www.fly.faa.gov
for real time delay information by airport as well as their airline before they travel.
Report any delays over 2 hours, especially tarmac confinements to the FlyersRights hotline 1-877-FLYERS6 (877-359-3776) with airport name, airline, flight number and time of delay and reason given and circumstances and/or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
This will enable FlyersRights.org to build a database to advocate for a restoration of normal air traffic control services.
Contacting your Congressional representatives and the White House, as well as the DOT airline consumer complaint hotline should not be under estimated in importance.
Only when Congress and the White House feel public pressure, will finger pointing and band-aid reactions give way to sensible budget solutions for the federal government, which includes funding of air traffic control services that are clearly essential for air travelers and the functioning of the US economy.
“While employees are being furloughed across the federal government, the aviation system is unusually visible,” said Hudson, “The federal government does not supply direct services to the American public in most areas – this is one that they do.”
Members of Congress are “playing chicken” over the budget, amounting to “a direct shot to the throat of the economy as well as to air travelers directly.”
FlyersRights.org founder Kate Hanni and current president, Paul Hudson (pictured), have been the group’s vocal advocates for passenger’s rights on airliners, and it was their efforts that eventually led to DOT rules that impose stiff fines against domestic airlines that allow planes to sit on the ground for more than three hours without offering passengers an opportunity to deplane.