Two recent spectacles conjure up the robber-baron era, when corporations ruled the country.
Last week at an International Aviation Club luncheon in Washington, D.C., the US Department of Transportation (DOT) undersecretary for policy, Derek Kan, said that the government is keen on just staying out of the way of the aviation industry and letting the market play out.
“The lesson for us in Washington is to remove onerous regulatory burdens,” declared Kan.
Earlier last week, at the US Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit on March 1, attendees heard much the same thing, reported Douglas Kidd, executive director of the National Association of Airline Passengers.
“Both the airline reps and the TSA head spoke in glowing terms of the passenger experience and the passenger perspective, without any real appreciation of either subject. In short, they want to do what they want, without regard to comfort or well-being of the passenger. This should come as no surprise, as not one passenger advocate was invited to speak at the summit.”
Also revealing was Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly’s comment: “I don’t think anyone wants the government meddling in how we do business.”
FlyersRights.org hears from a lot of people around the country. We have not heard one person say, “We have got to relax regulations on US airlines with their combined profit of $34.5 billion in 2017.” Yet that is what DOT is considering doing.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske claimed, “We can never fail to look at our system from the passenger’s perspective.” Yet, he has turned a blind eye to the perspective of millions who travel everyday plus the exhaustive list of abuses by TSA.
In the opinion of TSA’s chief, everything is marvelous: Security lines are short, officers are “courteous but focused” and they even return items forgotten at the checkpoint! Plus, the airline seats are comfortable!
Airlines and DOT want to block the gains proposed by FlyersRights
The need for regulations protecting passengers is greater than ever. Specifically, we would like to see regulations governing the following:
* Seat size and pitch;
* Compensation for excessive flight delays, cancellations;
* Standards for lavatory size;
* Reinstatement of the reciprocity rule (aka Rule 240);
* Payment to affected passengers a portion of airline fines for violation of the 3-hour rule;
* Requirement for airlines to maintain a reserve of equipment and flight crews in case of cancellation;
* Penalty for airlines false claims of force majeure (e.g. weather or ATC);
* Requirement that passengers be informed verbally and in writing of their rights to compensation for flight delays;
* Better procedures for lost, damaged and mishandled baggage; and
* Acknowledgment of complaints to DOT, TSA and airports within 24 hours and some answered within 30 days.
Passengers should insist upon these regulations to protect their interests. The airlines clearly want to rewrite the rules in their favor. Regulations protect the health, safety and general welfare of passengers from the unreasonable demands of airlines.
We urge Congress to pass a comprehensive airline passenger bill of rights legislation that has been blocked by the airlines for years.
A note from our president:
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For the next time your plane is waiting to be de-iced…