The major U.S. airlines have joined forces and issued a laundry list of regulations they want to see abolished by the Trump administration – rules designed to protect travelers.
If their dream comes true, the protections travelers have gotten used to will be consigned to the rear of the plane – or bus, as it seems.
Gone will be dozens of rights that flyers have relied upon in recent years – from knowing they can’t be trapped on the tarmac for more than three hours to seeing all taxes and fees included in an airline’s advertised fare.
“The lesson for us in Washington is to remove all onerous burdens,” said Derek Kan, Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy in the Department of Transportation (DOT), in explaining the Trump administration’s goal.
Piloting this scheme is Airlines for America (A4A) – the D.C. powerbroker lobbyists who should change their name to “Axis4Airlines” as the proposals they support are detrimental to the nation as a whole. A4A is not for America but for its airlines and the airline industry.
The lobbyists want to see more than 30 regulations abolished in a drive propelled by major U.S. airlines that transport more than 90 percent of U.S. airline passengers and cargo.
Regulations denounced as bad for business sometimes serve a purpose
The hit-list includes consumer rules that FlyersRights.org urged DOT to put in place years ago:
- The 24-hour booking cancellation rule. Passengers can hold a reservation without payment, or cancel a booking without penalty, for 24 hours after the reservation is made, as long as they made the reservation one week or more prior to a flight’s departure;
- An airline requirement to promptly notify passengers of flight delays of over 30 minutes, as well as flight cancellations and diversions;
- Restrictions that prohibit an airline from increasing the price of a passenger’s ticket after it is bought;
- A requirement that all mandatory taxes and fees must be included in an advertised fare;
- A requirement that airlines and booking services must disclose baggage fees to consumers when they book a flight online; and
- The tarmac delay rule, which limits to three hours the time passengers can be confined on a plane that’s not going anywhere.
Regardless of political party, regulating airlines in this way is a good thing – as United’s “dragging incident” showed, the airlines still get away with too much. They cannot regulate themselves.
In a filing with DOT, Delta Air Lines suggested that displaying the full price “distorts consumers’ views of what they pay for airline service (as opposed to what they pay in government-imposed fees and taxes), causing consumer confusion and engendering negative views of airfares.”
Could Delta have made a more ludicrous statement? How in the world do airline executives think that showing flyers the true cost of a flight causes confusion?
The only confusion we can think of is an invoice that’s 30 percent higher than the price quoted on the website. And that price wouldn’t include what the airline is going to charge you in the air for a drink or food.
How you can help!
You can help FlyersRights.org fight back against the airlines’ deregulation wish list by:
- Telling your member of Congress and the FAA how much you rely on these regulations
- Supporting Flyers Rights with whatever you are able to give
- Voicing your concerns to the airlines themselves
- Following FlyersRights.org on Facebook and Twitter for news and updates
In order to repeal passenger-friendly regulations, DOT needs to provide notice to the public and then wait to hear what you, the public, have to say about it.
Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights.org said, “There is nothing wrong with trimming back unnecessary regulations, but airlines now want no regulation or self-regulation.”
“That would gut the few consumer protections passengers have. And airlines of course want to keep regulations that help themselves, like prohibitions on foreign competition, antitrust exemptions and effective bars on new airport construction to relieve congestion.”
So, if airlines want to deregulate, then they should also open up the market to more competition.