August 16, 2007

To the Honorable Proper name here

U.S. House of Representatives

OR

U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C.

Dear Representative or Senator name:

I am a member of the Coalition for an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights and your loyal constituent. I am cordially inviting you to attend a simulation of the experiences that people like me and tens of thousands of American passengers have endured at the hands of commercial airlines.

If you have ever wanted to see first-hand what being trapped in an aircraft for 8 to 14 hours against your will is like – then please join our organization for this important event. The Coalition for an Airline Passenger’s Bill of Rights is holding a Strand-In on the National Mall between 12th and 13th Streets on September 19th. Look for the Flyers Rights airplane on the mall. Coalition members from around the country, students, and members of Congress who support the need for Congressional action on behalf of airline passengers are gathering to make their voices heard in regard to the continuing inhuman treatment of airline passengers.

The purpose of the Strand-In is to convince Congress that the FAA Reauthorization Bills (H.R. 2881 and S. 1300) must require airlines to establish a maximum tarmac delay period and to have the U.S. Secretary of Transportation enforce them. According to the Department of Transportation, the contingency plans currently offered by the airlines are not enforceable.

I am only asking for you to attend for a few minutes to demonstrate your support. If you cannot make it, I would appreciate you sending a staff member.

Our organization expects a large national media presence for this event. Speeches will be from noon to 1:00 pm. If you wish to make any formal remarks, please let the Coalition know in advance (see contact information below). We anticipate a full flight – so reserve your seat soon!

I promise you won’t be bumped.

Sincerely,

Your name and your address

Member of the Coalition for an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights

Getting there: Use the Smithsonian Metro Station – exit at 12th and Jefferson. Very limited parking is available on Jefferson and in general area. Use mass transit or taxi.

For more information about the Strand-In, up-to-date information (copies of Coalition materials, etc.), please visit www.flyersrights.org or contact:

Kate Hanni

kate@flyersrights.com

(707) 337-0328, or



8 comments on “Strand-IN-Invitation to Congress Template

  • I have sent this email out in my state and have urged everyone I know to do so as well. I think what you guys are doing is amazing, I wish I could donate money or time. Thank you so much for all you have and will do.

  • As one who was stranded on the tarmac for around 6 hrs on a very hot day in Philly in July of 2005, I applaud what CAPBOR under Kate Hanni’s leadership is doing to effect change in the airline industry. I have family on the East Coast and I now live on the West Coast, so I look forward to easier flight experiences in the future thanks to Kate and CAPBOR!

  • I am an airline customer service rep w/21 yrs experience and am aware of basically 3 issues responsible for customer inconvenience:
    1) ATC. Let the airplanes “take off” once they leave the gate. The vast majority of delays aren’t caused by broken airplanes or “crew staffing” problems. Flights are held on the ground because of an antiquated government funded Air Traffic Control system. Let’s fund this so the planes are actually allowed to “take off” once they leave the gate.
    2) Low Cost Carriers(LCC’s). LCC’s have brought the average airline emp wage down dramatically resulting in inexperience and poor customer service. Look around at the ticket counter staffing at the airport. We used to have experience and efficiency because airline employees were paid well, experienced and valued their jobs. Thanks to LCC’s, benefits have been reduced or eliminated and wages slashed. Now you get fast food quality customer service personnel paid poor wages.
    3) Lost luggage issues: Daily, a small percentage of checked luggage does not arrive with the customer. Often, this is because the government TSA screens bags behind the scene, then gives them to the airline too late to make the flight. Also, many customers put critical items in their “checked” luggage that should be in their “carry-on” luggage. When possible, please “carry-on” essential items when possible, such as life-sustaining medicine, dress suit(needed for that morning interview), car keys etc..
    I appreciate your efforts to fix the airline system. We work hard daily to get all customers to their final destination and it’s a challenge when flights are delayed due to ATC and customers miss their connections and have to sit on airplanes for hours. Often, the government ATC information is given out as follows: “Your city has been included in the -Ground Delay Program- for EWR(Newark). Your flight is grounded with an update time in 30 minutes.” Often, this “ground delay program” will be released and we’re able to depart and immediately take off. However, if we’re not “boarded” and ready to take off then we may lose the opportunity because another “Ground Delay Program” often is put in place. PK CHS

  • I was on a flight from London this
    year. The flight could not take
    off because of mechanical problems.
    We could not get off the plan because the pilot said it would
    take too long off loading everyone
    and loading everyone on again. We
    were told to sit and it seemed for
    a very long time. I missed my
    connecting flight in the US. They
    put me and my luggage on another
    flight or two. Delta gave me
    2500 miles for my trouble.

  • Here’s the complaint emailed to the US-Airway….

    I’m very very very angry with my recent flights on US Air (August 3, 2007 and August 12, 2007).

    I am disabled (I have cerebral palsy, which involves all four limbs). I have pleasantly flown by myself (without an assistant) many times in the past on the other airlines without any problems. However, my recent round-trip flight from Jacksonville, FL to Philadelphia was a horrible experience.

    After my dad put me on the US Air flight, he left the airport knowing that I have flown many times before and I’m quite capable. After my dad left, the head flight attendant told the other flight attendant that she would not permit me to remain on the plane because she would not be responsible for me “IF something should happen to the flight.” They almost forced me to leave the plane. A number of the other passengers heard what was going on and “volunteered to be responsible for me.”

    Note: I am a 40 year-old woman who graduated with top honors at the Unv. of North FL. (’92). I have run my own successful graphic design business for the past 15 years.

    I was extremely embarrassed for being made the cause of everyone having to wait! Finally, there was a passenger who volunteered to sit beside me. He happens to be a male nurse. After that, we finally went to Philadelphia. My friend, who was waiting to pick me up at the Philadelphia airport, had wait for over an hour for my arrival.

    Then, a week later in Philadelphia while waiting to board my return US Air flight, I found out that the same head flight attendant had canceled my flight home! Needless to say, I was shocked, angry and exasperated!! I had to reschedule my flight home.

    I am extremely disappointed with the US Air company. I really feel humiliated. Since this problem occurred, I feel like they treated me as if I’m retarded and was discriminated against! I like being independent. If there were an emergency, I know how to act.

    Btw, after landing at Jax FL, I discovered that the airline had lost my two suitcases. I had to wait until the next day to receive them (they delivered the suitcases to my home).

    I’ll have to calm down and think long and hard before I’ll consider flying with US Air again.
    ——————————
    ——————————

    Further correspondence with a lady who works for US-Air…

    Later a lady from the US-Air company wrote, and one of the paragraphs she wrote is, “I want to apologize for the unfortunate situation you experienced at the Jacksonville International Airport while on board US Airways flight 946. After boarding the aircraft the Flight Attendant was concerned about your ability to assist in your own evacuation in the event of an emergency, which prompted her to contact a Complaint Resolution Official (CRO).”

    I also received a free E-TUV roundtrip ticket from her that is good for a year to try to mollify the situation.

    I, then, emailed her the following…

    ———————————–
    ———————————–
    I’m very confused. I am 40 years-old and have been able to fly on my OWN since I was 15 years old without any difficulties and embarrassments? Also, why did I not have any problems flying back home to Jacksonville from Philadelphia without an assistant? Please explain that to me. This is very disturbing.

    Regarding my return flight to Jacksonville, I have proof showing this was a roundtrip flight purchased through Orbitz. See attached. Please tell me what went wrong? Obviously, someone canceled it.

    Thank you for responding and for the E-TUV.
    ———————————–
    ———————————–

    She, then, called me via phone to apologize again and play “PYA.”

    That lady told me via phone… 1. The flight attendant has no right to cancel anyone’s flight. So, she didn’t know how or why my flight showed that I wasn’t on the plane. 2. She said that, in Philadelphia, they had a ”computer glitch” stating the above, which almost kept me from being allowed to board my return flight. She also mentioned that she was sending the information in my letter to all managers as an example of what not to do for future training purposes.

  • s
    Saw you interviewed on tv, and loved your attitude. I have signed your bill of rights and made a small donation to the cause. I’m a 58 yr old male and I’ve been flying commercially since 1960. Since the dereg of the airline industry I’ve collected twenty-five years of “horor” stories. Here are but a few: as my mother was dying, I made 39 trips in 52 weeks on Northworst Air from Mpls to Denver. At Denver I had to catch another flight on Continenal to get to Colorado Springs. On the returns Continental was always late causing me to frequently miss my Northworst flight back to Mpls. Interestingly, the reason given was always “the flight was delayed because it was late taking off from Houston because of bad weather”. After the 4th time I heard this lie I asked the agent if I could use her phone to make a call. I picked up the phone and dialed information and asked for the number of the weather service at Hobby (Houston) airport. When the agent heard this she scrambled to get her supervison. The supervisor stopped me from diaking the weather service and said “one of my agents says you are having trouble making your connection in Denver. Let me see if I can help you with that”. I handed her my tickets and she went to work on her computer and lo-and-behold I wound up flying first class from Denver to Mpls on the next available flight. Several trips later I got an agent for Continental who was quitting and going back to school. With no one else in line, I told her of my continued troubles and she looked around, and seeing there was no one to overhear us said to me “You know why don’t you?” “No, I answered. I don’t”. Then she said something that simply astonished me. “Oh yeah, if they don’t have enough passengers to fill up the plane they just ‘collapse’ the flights and put 2 or 3 of the short hop flights from here to Denver on one plane and make the passengers from the first two flights wait until the third flight’s scheduled departure time so they can fly a fuller plane.” Incredible!

    Number 2 story is a deussy. I’m in O’Hare scheduled for a flight to Greensboro, NC on U.S. Air. It’s snowing like crazy. I go over to the gate area and ask the gate person if she thinks the plane will take off on time. She says “sure, this is Chicago. We know how to handle snow.” As I sit down to read the paper it begins to snow harder. I notice another U.S. Air flight is preparing to board for a flight to Charlotte NC and there are very few passengers at the gate. I go over to the gate attendant and ask her if her plane is going to take off and she says yes. I said “there were so few people I thought the flight had been cancelled”. “No”, she said, “but we’re going to be the last one out today”. I quickly told her I had a ticket for a flight leaving for Greensboro in an hour but could she get me on her flight. “Sure” she said. “Jeeze, I don’t know why she told you your flight would go, we all got the call 30 minutes ago that ours (Charlotte) would be the last one out”. Thankful that I had acted with speed to get on the Charlotte flight, I called my wife and told her to pick me up in Charlotte. Can you believe the maliciousness of a gate attendant that would lie right to your face and tell you the plane was going to go when she knew damn good and well that it wouldn’t!
    #3. Since dereg I have refused to fly “coach” on trans Atlantic flights. As you probably know there are now only two classes of air travel; human (to include first and business) and cattle, or as the airlines like to call it ‘coach’. I flew TWA from St. Louis to London once. We got a an old DC 10 on the return. 338 people and 8 toilets, in coach. 6 toilets not working…enough said!
    I could go on but what good would it do…preaching to the choir ya know. Before I leave I do have one suggestion for you. Eventually airline CEOs are going to be brought befor Congress just like the tobacco company CEOs were. Before you get them before the committee buy yourselves some 17″ wide airline seats and place them in 2s, one row behind the other. Oh yeah, remember to give the rows 31″ of pitch, except for the last row which should have only 30″ of pitch, you know, because it butts up against the rear of the cabin. Oh, and one other thing, the hearings should be 7 hrs in length!
    Thanks
    Greg Borden-Neary

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