May 10, 2013 | Kendall Creighton Let There Be Flight Tuesday, April 30, 2013 Flights returned to normal this week after public anger hit such a fervor that Congress overwhelmingly approved legislation Friday to allow the FAA to withdraw the furloughs. “Furloughs ended swiftly within one week,” said Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights. “Congress contemplated facing angry constituents while being delayed and stranded in airports as they commute weekly to and from their home districts.” “Unfortunately, the furlough fix robbed Peter (airport maintenance and improvement accounts) to pay Paul (air traffic controllers),” he said. No comprehensive resolution is in sight to the other aspects of the long-running federal budget dispute. Expect other sequestration cuts to continue into FY 2014. Backlash in action, folks. From your frustrated tears to government’s ears! IATA’s Resolution 787: How it Will Change the Way Airline Reservations are Made Frequent Fliers, Prepare to Pay More An airline trade association has quietly submitted for approval to the DOT a new anti-competitive and anti-consumer ticket pricing system. Unless blocked this proposal could end the era of transparent airline ticket pricing and make consumer ability to compare ticket prices on websites a thing of the past. A new entity known as the Passenger Distribution Management Group would quote all airfares, instead of individual airlines, and require consumers to provide personal information before fares are quoted that “includes but is not limited to” the customer’s name, age, marital status, nationality, contact details, frequent flyer numbers (on all carriers), prior shopping, purchase and travel history and whether the purpose of the trip is business or leisure. Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights.org noted, “This outrageous plan is akin to consumers in a drug store having their wallets and bodies scanned in the checkout line to determine how wealthy and sick they are before being told how much their medicine will cost. In the age of super computers, corporate entities can, without government regulation, demolish fixed pricing and make many essential consumer transactions a one sided, customized take it or leave it proposition where the consumer is at a complete disadvantage. The required consumer information would also be another assault on personal privacy, subject to all sorts of abuse.” FlyersRights.org is calling on the U.S. Departments of Justice and Transportation to block this anti-consumer and anti-competitive pricing scheme by airlines, who are acting collectively under the supposed cover of their trade association. We urge you to weigh in! Tomorrow, May 1, is the deadline for comment to DOT. * Read the NYT editorial on this topic. Boeing’s Dreamliner, Still Dreaming On NTSB press conference photo of burned battery from JAL 787 Boeing’s spin machine seems to be going flat out to distract attention from the woes of the grounded 787 Dreamliner. Its lithium-ion batteries have come under a harsh spotlight as a pair of battery-related fires have resulted in the grounding of fleets across the globe. Yet while investigators said last week that they have not found any factory-level problems with the Japanese-built batteries, FlyersRights believes that there is a more fundamental issue in play. “The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has had a close encounter with nightmare maker Freddy Krueger, as its batteries have spontaneously overheated and burned on several occasions.” said Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights. The FAA on April 19th approved Boeing’s band-aid fix to its fire prone lithium ion batteries so the 787 may fly again soon. However, the FAA is reviewing its certification allowing it to fly up to 3 hours from the nearest airport. Some outside experts still question the 787’s safety to fly without a much safer battery pack. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood has said the Boeing 787 would not fly again until he was convinced it was “1,000 percent safe.” Yet as long as they do not find the cause of these battery problems the 787 will not be 100% safe. FlyersRights, after consulting with a host of aviation safety and battery experts, will request the DOT/FAA delay allowing the 787 to fly trans-Pacific or over the North Pole until the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issues its findings and recommendations on the recent battery fire accidents that caused the 787 to be grounded since January. FlyersRights also strongly recommends a public comment period with a public hearing that includes outside experts (not just government and Boeing experts) before certifying the maximum range for the troubled twin-engine jetliner. FlyersRights Says “No!” to Suspending Tarmac-Delay Rules Last week we sounded the alarm, and you responded. Hundreds of FlyersRights members filed comments with DOT regarding the brazen request by Airlines for America (A4A) and the Regional Airline Assn. (RAA) for temporary exemption to the 3-Hour Tarmac Delay rule. The official response from FlyersRights President, Paul Hudson was “No exemptions” in the strongest terms. Read his statement here. The U.S. Department of Transportation is currently reviewing the motion. FlyersRights’ Partners Flybag™ – the must-have TSA-compliant toiletry kit for the efficient traveler. Enter code: ISTILLFLY and you’ll receive one dollar off AND another dollar will be donated to FlyersRights! Visit FlyBags.com. Check out the FlyersRights wine shop! You can’t miss with any of these great wines. Final Word Paul Hudson, President Kate Hanni, Founding Member 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 for your continued support!