FlyersRights.org

Airline Passenger 

Bill of Rights 2.0

15 Airlines Warned About Ice forming on Engines of Dreamliner
Tuesday, November 26, 2013

FlyersRights is proud to announce our Passenger Bill of Rights 2.0. 

Please email your comments,(globetrotter1947[at]hotmail[dot]com), over the next 10 days (by Dec. 10th). 

 
We will be presenting the final version to Congress and DOT the week of Dec. 15th.
Below is the condensed version, (read it in full here). 
  
Traveler Delay Avoidance & Mitigation
1)
 Reinstate the reciprocity rule allowing passengers on canceled or
delayed flights (over 90 minutes) to use their tickets on another
airline with available seating flying to the same or nearby destination.
Current
situation:  Most airlines do not have an arrangement with other
airlines to take their delayed passengers. The rule would reward
airlines that provide timely service and penalize those that do not, as
well as maximize the efficiency of the entire air transportation
system.  Now the opposite is true.
2)
 Set a minimum fine of $3,000 per passenger for tarmac delays in
violation of the 3-hour rule.  Of that, $1,000 will be paid to affected
passenger plus $10 per minute for delays over 3 hours.
Current
situation:  Most airline violations of the 3-hour rule are not fined by
DOT, or fined less than $1,000 per passenger (vs the maximum fine of
$27,500 per passenger).  
3)
 Require airlines to conduct live testing of emergency or irregular
operation plans at least annually or more frequently for airlines that
fail practice tests or actual emergency operation performance standards.
Current
situation:  Airlines are required to have emergency operation plans but
not to have actually tested or practiced or trained their employees to
execute them.
4)  Reinstate legislation requiring airlines to honor tickets of other airlines shut down by insolvency.
Current
situation:  Larger carriers who face insolvency declare chapter 11
bankruptcy that allows them to continue operating. But smaller ones shut
down operations, sometimes abruptly leaving ticket holders with
disruption and extra travel expenses.     
5)  Require airlines to maintain a reserve of equipment and flight crews.
Current
situation: Most airlines operate with little or no reserve capacity.
When equipment breaks down or crews are unavailable, flights are
canceled or seriously delayed.  This situation is aggravated by the fact
that airlines are operating at record capacity of over 80%, so that a
canceled flight means that passengers may have to wait many hours or
even several days to get on another flight to their destination.   
6)
 Set minimum fines of $1,000 per passenger with ½ paid to affected
passengers for cancellations due to false claims of force majeure (e.g.
weather or air traffic  control restrictions, when the real reason is
lack of equipment or personnel or for too few passengers).
Current
situation: There is a very high rate of fraudulent “acts of god”
reporting by airlines. They are rarely fined and passengers receive no
compensation. 
7)
 Require cancellation for economic reasons to be made at least 3 hours
before flight time, and provide passengers with alternate transportation
plus a ticket refund, or breach of contract consequential damages up to
$5,000.   
Current
situation:  Airlines are required by the FAA to provide safe and
convenient air transportation to the general public.  Economic flight
cancellations amount to a breach of contract or civil fraud and/or
violation of their certificate, but enforcement is virtually
nonexistent.
8)
 Require passengers to be informed both verbally and in writing of
their rights to compensation for flight delays under US law for domestic
flights.
Current
situation: Neither the airlines or DOT inform passengers of their
rights to compensation for flight except in situations involving bumping
or oversales.
9)  Require that stranded passengers receive meals, lodging and ground transportation.
Current
situation:  Once a matter of course, but now many airlines decline to
provide these services, except for high paying or frequent travelers.  
Lost, Damaged and Mishandled Baggage
1)
 Require airlines follow standards to return lost unclaimed baggage.
After 90 days property is sold at auction with proceeds going to a Lost
Baggage Fund, and used to fund consumer protection services.
Current situation:
Airlines now sell unclaimed baggage after a short holding time and
keep the proceeds. They generally dispute lost baggage claims and
passengers have no means of redress.
2)  Require airlines to offer excess value insurance for lost or damaged baggage.
Current
situation:  Airlines do not sell baggage insurance, and do not allow
passengers to declare higher value than liability limits.  USPS, UPS and
Federal Express charge 1% of excess declared value for insurance.
Lack
of insurance, low liability limits and low claim payment rates make for
low quality checked baggage service and no security against theft.  
Yet airlines now charge $25 to over $100 per bag for checked luggage.
Frequent Flier Programs Standards
1)
 Require airlines to report statistics on their frequent flier programs
for customers to evaluate each airline program, including the number of
miles expired, used and accumulated unused each quarter, the number of
award tickets granted especially to popular vacation destinations,
restrictions on transfer or used by persons or entities other than the
frequent flyer account holder.
2)
 Require notice of 12 months to reduce or devalue benefits to existing
frequent flier account holder members of over one year.
Current
situation: Frequent flier programs are a source of revenue for airlines
which sell miles to credit card, car rental, hotel and other businesses
that seek to provide customers with a low cost inducement to buy
customer loyalty. 
Airlines
take the position that these are not binding contractual obligations,
but merely marketing programs that can be altered or eliminated at
will.   
As
miles accumulate on the books of an airline, there is an enormous
incentive for the airline to devalue them by program changes (most
recently United Airlines announced program changes that devalue its
frequent flier miles by at least 40%).
Airline Rights Enforcement
1)
 A 24-hour complaint hotline provided for in 2012 law and a passenger
claims arbitration service should be funded up to $10 million per year
by a set aside of 10% of fines paid by airlines to the US Government for
violation of DOT or FAA regulations, plus up to 1/1000 of the ticket
taxes and facility charges paid by airline passengers.  No funding is
currently provided for the passenger hotline and it has not been
established by DOT.
Current
situation:  Only 10% of complaints to DOT result in a referral for
additional investigation, 90% are merely logged for statistical
purposes.  Airlines are not required to do more than respond and
acknowledge complaints.

Airlines are one of a very few industries serving
the general public exempt from all state and local consumer protection
laws, based on judicial interpretations of the Airline Deregulation Act
of 1978’s federal preemption clause.

2)
Complaints against airlines and TSA shall be acknowledged within 24
hours, responded to within 30 days and allowing a reply by the passenger
within 30 days.   
3)  All contracts of carriage will outline passenger rights to claims under $10,000.
4)
 In the event that court or arbitration awards an amount in excess of
the amount offered by the airline, the passenger shall be entitled to an
additional amount for litigation expenses.
5) Airlines’ contract of carriage shall follow common law doctrines regarding voiding provisions in consumer contracts.
6) All airline passenger claims under $80,000 against airlines shall be adjudicated in state or local courts.
7)
Consumer claims with more than 50 claimants and with total damage
claims of under $15 million may be brought in state courts and may not
be removed to US District court without the consent of all parties to
the litigation. 
8)
Airlines that remove passenger lawsuits from state courts that are then
remanded back to state courts by US District Courts shall be obligated
to pay plaintiff’s attorney fees.
Interpretation of Fees, Service, Airfare, Seat and Space Standards
1)
“Airfare” will mean the price including all taxes and fees for a seat,
one carry-on, one personal item, plus one piece of checked baggage.  It
also includes water, adequate food nutrition on flights lasting over 2
hours, toilet and washing facilities.
Current situation: Airlines have reduced “airfare” to a meaningless base price that leads to deceptive advertising.   
Bank
interest rates, gasoline prices and octane ratings, hotel room rates
must meet disclosure standards. This enables consumers to price shop and
prevents deceptive price advertising, price confusion, and unfair
competition.
2)  Fees not included in the airfare must be disclosed in advance of ticket purchase.
Current
situation:  Airlines have resisted disclosing their fees to third party
ticket sellers making price shopping by consumers difficult.  
3)  Fees not included in airfare shall not be exorbitant.
Current
situation:  The DOT has the authority to prohibit “unfair or deceptive”
airline practices but has never done so to rein in airline fees.
4)  Fees over $50 shall be subject to taxes the same as airfares.
Current
situation: Airline fees are not taxed. This tax loophole for airline
fees will drain the aviation transportation trust fund.
5)
 “Service” means air transportation from point A to point B. It does
not include things that an airline does or fails to do in the course of
its operations.
Current situation: Airlines
are broadly interpreting “service” to include all things an airline
does in the course of its operations. This has given immunity for
violation of all state and local consumer protection and contract law
doctrines and laws, health and safety statutes, and all common law
torts.  
6)
“Force Majeure” or “Acts of God” in the contracts of carriage do not
include lack of airline personnel or aircraft in airworthy condition,
supplies or other conditions reasonably within the control of an
airline.
Current
situation:  Airlines are redefining “acts of god” to free themselves of
normal breach of contract for matters that are within their control
such as maintenance and crew availability.
 7)  The FAA shall issue minimum standards for seat width, padding, reclining, size, pitch, leg room.  
Current situation:  There are no seat or passenger space regulations.   
Airlines
are reducing seat, passenger space and adding more seats, charging
extra for what had previously been standard seat space, to the point
that passengers are loudly complaining and health and safety is
threatened.   
Passengers
have grown heavier and older in the past 50 years, while seat sizes
have shrunk and without standards will shrink even more.
Conclusion 
Much more is needed to improve air transportation service and consumer protection in a concentrated airline industry. 

Fifteen Airlines Warned About Ice on Engines of

 Dreamliners

  • Airlines told to avoid high-level thunderstorms that may produce ice crystals
  • Ice could affect 747-8 and 787 planes powered by GE  
  • Japan Airlines has pulled Dreamliners from two international routes

On Friday Boeing alerted airlines about engine icing problems on some of its new planes.
It was advised that planes with a specific General Electric engine avoid flying near thunderstorms that might contain ice crystals.

This latest warning comes after six
powered by GE’s GEnx – five 747-8s and one 787 – suffered temporary
loss of thrust while flying at high altitude from April to November
this year.

The problem was caused by a build-up of ice crystals which spread through the engine.
FlyersRights
petitioned the DOT and FAA seven months ago to reduce the maximum
distance to landing zones from 3 hours to 2 hours until the 787 has
demonstrated two years of trouble free operations, as has been required
of other new airliner designs. 

PAST DREAMLINER PROBLEMS:

July 28 2012: A fan shaft fails during runway tests in South Carolina
December 2012: A Dreamliner was forced to make an emergency landing in New Orleans
January 7 2013: An unoccupied Dreamliner flight bursts into flames at Boston airport
January 15 2013:
A flight made an emergency landing in Japan after a smoke alarm went
off. The string of incidents led to regulators ordering a global
grounding of the entire Dreamliner fleet, which lasted for four months
June 2 2013: Battery-related problems were reported on a Japan Airlines aircraft forcing the airline to use an alternative plane
June 12 2013: A flight in Japan was cancelled after one of the engines failed to start
June 18 2013: A United Airlines flight was diverted to Seattle due to an oil-filter problem
June 24 2013: A Dreamliner operated by United Airlines had to make an emergency landing in Denver due to a brake problem
July 3 2013: Polish airline LOT cancelled a Dreamliner flight to Chicago because the aircraft had ‘problems with the power supply’
July 12 2013: Ethiopian Airlines plane catches fire on the runway at Heathrow, forcing the closure of the whole airport
July 18 2013:
Japan Airlines plane bound for Tokyo had to return to Boston’s Logan
airport after take-off because of a possible issue with the fuel pumps
November 2013: Japan Airlines pulls 787s from two international routes amid concerns about ice forming on the planes

 
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 FlyersRights.org 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. 

Or:

FlyersRights 
4411 Bee Ridge Road 

Sarasota, FL 34233

    
We welcome your thoughts and opinions.

Email your letters to: Kendallc@FlyersRights.org
This email was sent to kendall44@gmail.com by kendallc@flyersrights.org |  
FlyersRights.org | 4411 Bee Ridge Road | Sarasota | FL | 34233