An Early Christmas Present for the Flying Public . . .
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All FlyersRights.org Members!
In case you haven’t already heard, on Monday the U. S. Department of Transportation announced strict new rules for airlines, thereby delivering the flying public an early Christmas present! WE GOT OUR RULE PASSED, WRITTEN IN THE STRONGEST LANGUAGE WE COULD HAVE HOPED FOR!
Among other things, the new rules prohibit airlines from making passengers wait on the tarmac for more than three hours, and require that passengers be provided with food, water, functioning lavatories and medical attention. In announcing the new rules, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “Airline passengers have rights, and these new rules will require airlines to live up to their obligation to treat their customers fairly.”
Well, Mr. LaHood, I couldn’t have said it better myself! Airline Passengers having basic rights has now been affirmed in a rule thanks to the leadership at DOT and our President. This is truly something to celebrate!
BUT, WE’RE NOT DONE YET!
Why, you ask? Because a rule does not a law make! The DOT rules have the force of law, but are subject to change by any future administration without review by Congress. To be truly protected from the whims of the airlines, we must get Congress to pass a law codifying these rights.
We are well on our way to realizing this goal. Senate Bill 1451, currently making its way through the Senate committees, is the companion to a House bill passed earlier this year, but it has yet to reach the floor for a vote. It is vital that we continue our push to codify this a law, thereby providing permanent protection for the flying public.
Even when this law is passed, we’ll continue to fight for you on lots of other important issues. Here are just a few:
Noting the variety of unbundled fees currently being charged at the point of purchase and the gate (e.g., fees for checked bags that add substantially to the overall ticket price).
Requiring airlines to report chronically delayed or cancelled flights at the point of purchase.
Ensuring that the DOT requires that airlines include the new rules in their contract of carriage so that passengers can enforce the rules, and thereby be eligible to receive some penalties that would otherwise go to the government.
Pushing for a mandated advisory committee to oversee the implementation of the law, and requiring that the public be represented on this committee by at least one member of a non-profit airline passengers rights group.
Please Remember Us at Year-End Planning Time!
We continue to need your help to finish this important work.
Please keep us in mind when making your year-end donations. While our IRS 501(c)(4) status means your contribution is not tax deductible (because it permits us to use funds in lobbying activities that are so critical to effecting law changes), your contributions keep us going. Without your contributions, our efforts cannot continue.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!
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