|Another week, another hurricane threat for airlines as Irma looms down on Florida, complicating flight schedules.
This, right after the industry was getting back to normal in Texas following Hurricane Harvey.
Irma’s track at this point, looks like it will impact most of Florida. The distance from Miami International Airport to the Atlantic is 12.9 miles – MIA is hub to American Airlines and JetBlue.
American announced 14 cancellations for flights to and from the Caribbean islands over the next three days. The carrier said it expects to make further changes to its schedule as the storm progresses.
United Airlines has canceled three flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico for Wednesday, while Delta has not issued any cancellations so far.
American, Delta and United are among the airlines that have put waivers into place allowing passengers traveling to certain Caribbean destinations to reschedule their travel without paying change fees.
The disruption to airlines could grow depending on the path Irma ultimately takes. On Tuesday, Hurricane Irma strengthened into a Category 5 storm.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center described Irma as “extremely dangerous” and said there is a chance the storm will affect Florida later this week, although it’s still too early to be certain of its path.
For Irma, airlines had already begun waiving change fees to several Caribbean destinations with the storm – just upgraded to a category 5 hurricane Tuesday – taking aim at the region. The coverage areas for those fee waivers was likely to keep expanding as Irma moves through the Caribbean and tracks toward the US mainland.
Flyers ticketed to travel to the northern Caribbean in the coming days will be forced to cancel or postpone their trips.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 6, 2017
Contact: Paul Hudson, 800-662-1859, firstname.lastname@example.org
United Airlines Escapes Sanctions for April 2017 Dr. Dao Violations
DOT Lists United Airlines’ Violations, Declines to Enforce or Punish
Washington DC –
Despite concluding that United Airlines violated multiple provisions of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) oversales rule, the DOT has declined to pursue an enforcement action against the airline.
The Dr. Dao incident garnered national media attention after one of Dao’s fellow passengers released a graphic video showing airport police dragging Dao down the aisle in order to forcibly remove Dao, a paying customer, from United Flight 3411.
Although the incident placed United in the spotlight and prompted a national discussion of unacceptable airline practices, United will not be facing official sanctions for its handling of the April incident.
According to the DOT, United’s conduct violated two provisions of its oversales rule. First, United failed to provide David Dao and his wife Teresa Dao with a written oversales notice to explain the situation as required by law. Second, United involuntarily bumped another Flight 3411 passenger off the aircraft without providing appropriate compensation at the time and place of denied boarding, or within 24 hours if immediate tender is not practical.
Compensation was tendered ten days after the incident. It took the DOT 107 days to respond to Flyers Rights’ Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request despite the FOIA request clearly identifying the letter by date, sender, recipient, and subject matter.
The two page letter, dated May 12, 2017, included a very curious line where the investigation concludes that United’s violation of the involuntary bumping rule “was related to” Dr. Dao needing to seek medical treatment. Yet, United Airlines has escaped punishment or formal enforcement action.
Paul Hudson, President of Flyers Rights, noted “It should be clear that removing Dao from Flight 3411 in such a brutal manner and without legal notice was egregious in every sense of the word. For the Department of Transportation to conclude that United Airlines’ conduct did not warrant an enforcement action is a dereliction of duty.”
FlyersRights.org is the largest nonprofit airline passenger organization. It operates a hotline for passengers at 877-FLYERS6, publishes a weekly newsletter, serves on the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee and maintains an office in Washington DC for public education and advocacy. See www.flyersrights.org. Its President, Paul Hudson, has been a national advocate for passenger rights interests for over 25 years.
Also Big In The News This Week:
British Airways “Densifies” Its UK-US Route
BA’s long-haul planes will pack in 52 in more seats. the airline will add an extra seat to each row of economy on Gatwick-based Boeing 777 aircraft. They will be 10 abreast, rather than the current nine across.
An Airline Wants To Make Passengers Stand
Budget airline VivaColombia wants to remove all seats from its planes and make passengers stand. “There are people out there right now researching whether you can fly standing up – we’re very interested in anything that makes travel less expensive,” said the airline’s founder and CEO William Shaw.
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