Praise For New
Passenger Rights
Supreme Court to Hear Case of Disgruntled Frequent Flyer

FAA Recommends Pilots Spend Less Time Using Autopilot

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Last week, FlyersRights unveiled the new passenger Bill of Rights 2.0.
This will be major legislation that will be opposed by the entire airline industry.  It will only pass with strong public support and pressure on Congress.
Therefore, now is the perfect time to give a tax deductible year-end donation.  We also need our experienced road warriors to pitch in and help our less traveled friends and neighbors navigate the perilous challenges of modern air travel by volunteering to help out with our Help Hotline.
Below are some of your suggestions and comments regarding our latest Passenger Bill of Rights:
As a frequent flyer for business and occasionally for family visits, I support the Passenger Bill of Rights 2.0 whole-heartedly.
Every clause of it seeks to correct real abuses and bad policies by the airlines.  It is the duty of Congress to govern for the welfare of the people, so this is a perfect opportunity to do that by ignoring the usual airline industry lobbyists and protecting the vulnerable passengers.  We are tired of being exploited, lied to, and imprisoned in planes on the ground.   The narrowing of seats and shrinking of inches between rows is greatly uncomfortable to me and also unsafe.  Not only does the limited space make it harder to get out for any crash emergency, it also makes it harder to move a bit to keep away deep vein thrombosis.
I am tired of airlines treating us like “suckers” to be cheated and abused at their will.  They should not be overcharging, putting on fees to avoid taxes, etc., all the while treating us worse and worse and putting our health and very lives at risk by not actually testing emergency procedures.
This bill should be passed immediately by the whole Congress!
I notice the seat size was placed at the end, when I guess it might be a first priority for many passengers.
Any thoughts on having recipients rate the order of importance to them and send the list back?
I saw the latest version of the passenger bill of rights.  I saw you mentioned seat size and leg room. I totally agree.  One item, an important safety item, not mentioned, is the width of the aisles.  I saw recently that some airlines are shrinking seats and adding more seats and shrinking the aisles.  My concern was the width of the aisle.  People can barely move down the aisles now, with more seats and less aisle room how will people be able to leave in an emergency.  How much more time will it take to load and unload.  
Thank you.
There needs to be a limitation on the degree to which airline seats can be pushed back, and the seat mechanisms need to be properly maintained. I narrowly avoided a fistfight with a passenger on a Spirit flight FLL-LAX last year who tried to push his seatback right into my lap and hurt my knee. The seat mechanism was obviously defective, as the seat was pushed back at least 45 degr
ees which is abnormal.  If the passenger is of a size or height that having the seat in front of him pushed back would hurt him and there is no place he can move and the seat(s) next to him are occupied, then the person pushing the seat back has to be told that he may cause injury to another passenger and will have to leave his seat upright.
Also, regarding complaints brought to court. Spirit is headquartered near Ft. Lauderdale, FL but maintains their registered agent for receipt of service in Tallahassee. They do not fly to Tallahassee. Airlines should be required to have an R/A in a county to which they fly. Also, contract of carriage provisions that allow small claims suits to be brought only in the location where the airline is headquartered need to be voided. How, for example, can anyone sue United in small claims if they live in Miami and United is headquartered in Chicago. I don’t know if United has such a provision, but I do know that Spirit does, because I tried to sue them and I was told I could only sue them n Broward County, Florida.
I think we should finally be brazen enough to require minimum size seating for all passengers. we are not living in the middle ages – really. Passengers should have enough leg room to not have to get cramped on a 3 or 5 hour flight, and enough seat width to be able to rotate in their seats. I understand the economic implications, but I still do not think this is too outlandish a thing to ask for. I don’t think airlines should be able to dictate seat size.
Thank you, 
When this draft is complete, please start a petition on to get it in front of the FFA.
I think you might be pleasantly surprised at the public exposure/response.
It looks great to me!
Very good work. Don’t understand why govt allows public to be ripped off by corporations.
Please do whatever you can to prevent the use of cell phone while in flight!  
It’s bad enough they are so ubiquitous and annoying, in the plane they will be intolerable.
As a fall-back position, restrict the use to one area of seating, as used to be for smokers.
Thanks for your good work –
Yes, Kendall, Kate and all the gang, I support your bill of rights. I’m old enough to remember when some of those items were standard.
I also support Kate and Tim for the Amazing Race.
Great Start! But how about actually putting some teeth into these ideas…a real consumer bill of rights ala the European Union’s:
Air passenger rights
Firstly, you may not be charged a higher price for a ticket because of your nationality or where you are buying the ticket from.
Secondly, you also have rights in case things go wrong. This concerns delays, cancellations and overbooking that prevent you from boarding …
… and applies if you are:
  • departing from any airport situated in the EU, or
  • arriving in the EU with an EU carrier or one from Iceland, Norway or Switzerland.
Refund or alternative transport
If you are denied boarding or your flight is cancelled or overbooked, you are entitled to either:
  • transport to your final destination using comparable alternative means, or
  • having your ticket refunded and, where relevant, being returned free of charge to your initial departure point.
Long delays – if your flight is delayed by 5 hours or more, you are also entitled to a refund (But if you accept a refund, the airline does not have to provide any further onward travel or assistance).
Your airline must inform you about your rights and the reason for being denied boarding, or any cancellations or long delays (over 2 hours, although this may be up to 4 hours for flights in excess of 3500 Km).
Food and board
You may also be entitled to refreshments, meals, communications (such as a free phone call), and, if necessary, overnight stay, depending on the flight distance and length of delay.
Financial compensation
In addition, if you are denied boarding, your flight is cancelled or arrives more than 3 hours late on arrival at the final destination stated on your ticket, you may be entitled to compensation of €250 – 600, depending on the distance of the flight:
Within the EU
  • 1,500 km or less – €250
  • over 1,500 km – €400
Between EU airport and non-EU airport
  • 1,500 km or less – €250
  • 1,500 – 3,500 km – €400
  • over 3,500 km – €600
Even in extraordinary circumstances, airlines must provide assistance when necessary, while you are waiting for alternative transport.
Lost or damaged registered luggage
If your registered luggage is lost, damaged or delayed, you may be entitled to compensation from the airline, up to about €1,220 
Consumers Challenge
Frequent-Flyer Programs
A dispute between a frequent flyer and an airline is headed to the Supreme Court.

Tuesday December 3rd, the Court will hear a case called Northwest Airlines vs. Ginsburg, which is basically about what justifies an airline dropping a traveler from its frequent-flier program.
This ruling could have an enormous impact on how frequent flyers are treated. Imagine being in a top tier, making a complaint and being dropped, as well as losing all of your hard earned miles and privileges.
The issue is whether an airline can dismiss elite flyers for complaints.  The decision could come down against any complaints and allow airlines to arbitrarily dismiss elite flyers. president, Paul Hudson, who has litigated similar cases involving airline claims of immunity from state laws noted;
“The Airline claims the right to eliminate anyone from its frequent flyer program in its ‘sole discretion’ and asserts that it is immune from any state law prohibiting treating consumers in bad faith or imposing a duty of fair dealing.  
As other courts have sided with airlines in similar cases, the Supreme Court could remove any lingering doubt whether airline passengers have any consumer rights under state or local law. Presently, there are no federal regulations governing frequent flyer programs, although the DOT does have the power to prohibit ‘unfair or deceptive’ airline practices.”

According to the website scotusblog, Northwest Airlines dismissed Ginsberg from its WorldPerks Platinum Elite frequent flier loyalty program in June 2008 because he filed 24 complaints about the airline’s service over a period of eight months and was seeking compensation.

Ginsberg, a frequent lecturer, filed a class-action lawsuit in January 2009 seeking $5 million against the airline in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.
Ginsberg flies up to 75 times a year on business, according to a USA Today report on the case.
In an interview with the Minneapolis Citypages in August 2011, Ginsberg said, “This happened at the time that Northwest and Delta were merging. The suspicion was that they had too many frequent fliers at the higher status in their roll, and they were showing too much of a liability on a balance sheet for the accumulated miles by those passengers. So they had to creatively find ways of getting rid of people.”
The District Court dismissed Ginsberg’s original case. But the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated it, saying that “Ginsberg could argue whether the airline acted in good faith.”
The case before the Supreme Court centers around how much freedom airlines have in setting their own policies and prices. The point in contention is the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 which is meant to prevent lawsuits regarding “price, route or service of an air carrier.”

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Reliance On Autopilot Is Biggest Threat To Flight Safety, Study Says

FAA claims two thirds of pilots make mistakes due to reliance on technology

A draft report claims pilots are relying too much on automated systems, and, as a result, lack the knowledge and skills required to properly control an aircraft’s trajectory.
This is according to theWall Street Journalwho has seen a draft report commissioned by the FAA.
In 2011, a study examining data from 46 accidents and 9,000 flights, found that in more than 60 percent of accidents pilots had trouble manually flying the plane or made mistakes with automated flight controls.
A typical mistake was not recognizing that either the autopilot or the auto-throttle, which controls power to the engines, had disconnected.
Others failed to take the proper steps to recover from a stall in flight or to monitor and maintain airspeed.
Poor situational awareness, as well as an inability to use automated systems, is thought to be the main reason behind a number of crashes globally in recent years.
Pilot errors and automated systems were found to have played a role in a 2009 Air France Airbus 330 crash that killed 228 people and the botched landing of an Asiana Aircraft Boeing 777 in San Francisco in July.
Kate Hanni, who gave six years of her life to airline passengers rights and her husband Tim Hanni, Master of Wine have been asked to present an audition tape and application to “The Amazing Race”.
If they win the $1,000,000 prize they will give a handsome donation to FlyersRights which would help secure us into the future.
Kate and Tim are very recent empty-nesters and they really want to get chosen to compete in the Amazing Race. Please watch the video and have your friends watch it and “like” it with a thumbs up to show the producers that they have the public’s support to be on the show! 

Kate Hanni,
founder of FlyersRights
Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights
Please consider an “end of the year” tax write-off donation to our 501(c)3!
Founded by Kate Hanni in 2007, FlyersRights
 is funded completely through donations and our Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) charity, to which contributions are tax deductible.
Thank you.

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Sarasota, FL 34233
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