August 8, 2013 | Kendall Creighton You’ve Got Answers, We’ve Got Results Tuesday, August 6, 2013 In our July FlyersRights Poll, we asked you to share your biggest complaints about air travel, and your big three issues are: Deceptive and Unfair Ticket Pricing and Advertising Delays, Scheduling and Customer Service Flight Safety, Security and Health Issues “For the first time, airline passengers now place deceptive and unfair ticket pricing and advertising as their top of their priority, said Paul Hudson, FlyersRights president, “with delays and customer service complaints being a close second.” “FRO’s priority efforts will focus on these member priorities,” continued Hudson. “In the next 10 days the CEO of each major airline will receive specific requests for needed changes, hopefully making filing formal complaints or engaging in lengthy rulemaking, legislative efforts or litigation less necessary.” Toward that end, we are pleased to report that American Airlines, in response to our recent complaint regarding its confusing baggage fees, has added the following paragraph to its web site: Please note that more than one baggage charge may apply to a particular bag. For example a second checked bag that is overweight would incur both a second checked bag charge and an overweight bag charge. If that bag was also oversize, it would incur an oversize charge as well. Learn more about oversize and overweight bags. Of course, since American’s baggage fees (9 possible fees) can exceed $1,000 (for three checked bags), they can still be exorbitant, but are now more clearly so. This is not a scientific random survey of passengers, but it represents a current indication of passenger priorities and major complaint areas. FlyersRights Survey Choose your top 3 concerns: Some Responses To The Survey: Delta just upgraded their seats. Armrests are lower and my arms wouldn’t reach – I had to fold my arms and hold them in place for 14 hours JFK to Toyko – WORSE – the armrest dug into my leg and I was bruised black and blue when I arrived. I’m most concerned about how people are treated on flight by the airline industry (not the crew). We are confined to our seats on tarmacs without access to restrooms. We shouldn’t be treated like prisoners not to be able to get up out of our seat when the plane isn’t moving. Also, during these summer months that can be very hot we are forced to stay in our seat without a/c. I fly internationally for leisure travel 4x a year on Delta and have had good service. On our Air France connection in Paris to Delhi We were upgraded to Economy Select which was better than 1st class on domestic Delta flights. Some airlines do treat us well. Thanks for keeping us informed and advocating for us! The TSA has turned airports into virtual concentration camps. All that’s missing is the Arbeit Macht Frei on the doorway as we walk in. Want to know what fascism looks like? Look no further than your local airport. After all these years and bankruptcies, airlines have never learned any lessons about just how much they have done to alienate the people who support them. They arrogantly believe they are indispensable, and consumers support that by ignoring the bad behaviors and buying & flying anyway. Stop using them, and they will get the message, not before. Compensation for Excessive Flight Delays- If we miss connecting flights due to late arrival, the airline should pay any increased costs we incur. Tarmac Delays and Strandings- Unfortunately nothing gets done in the US until ACTION is taken. Passengers held captive at the airport should open the airliner door and slide down the shoots. Legal defense: Escaped captivity. Airlines hate their customers. It is a unique, failing business model. what is your agenda for 2013 2014,when it comes to getting some good laws passed for the flying public. A lot that goes on is totaly Uncunstitutional. 1)Aperson can not be held captive for more than 3 hr “tarmac rule”law passed” TSA unreasonable search/pat downs of children/seniors/crippled people and disabled veterans/military.”no laws paased” Thank You For All Your Hard Work #1 is the shrinking of seats and seat pitch. This is very dangerous and makes flying miserable. Next is tarmac strandings, also extremely dangerous for passengers. And 3rd on my list is pilot training; pilots are not getting the salaries they deserve or training they need for modern aircraft, as evidenced over past 10 years. This is very frightening. The profession is being degraded. I refuse to fly commercial [unless there is a dire emergency] because of invasive TSA so-called ‘security’ measures that violate personal privacy and fly in the face of the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. TSA MUST be reigned in for their fascist, ineffective, and invasive body searches ~ Yes, even since elimination of the absurd naked body scanners! By far leg room in coach is the most important issue. Current seats strike me as subhuman, in violation of basic human rights, and a health hazard due to possibility of DVT and other injuries. PLEASE make this a priority for this organization. I am also concerned about deteriorating conditions for disabled passengers, as my husband is disabled and we have been in some nightmare situations recently. Competition is required in the airline industry. The US DOJ should investigate the industry for collusion. This is true across the industry worldwide. It may be time to regulate the industry just as utilities are regulated. Tarmac delays are still the number one issue. Significant fines must be issued in order to keep “teeth” in the present 3 hour maximum. Thanks for all the work you have done and are continuing to do to make air travel a more pleasant and safe experience for all of us. I hate everything about air travel in USA – the ambiguity of website info over luggage (seems to change daily, phone queries never answered satisfactorily) anything to do with code share parameters (different luggage allowances on Intl code share flights) lack of space in overhead lockers, poor assistance with quickly getting people seated/luggage stowed, torturous seat sizes, cold air causing sinus problems, miserable meal portions, horrible AVequipmemt (virgin Atlantic) rude & unruly passengers. FlyersRights Rules In Action: Southwest ‘Ding’ Sting The Department of Transportation said last week that it was fining Southwest Airlines $200,000 for failing to comply with DOT rules on pricing. The DOT rules say that airlines that advertise a price have to have a reasonable number of seats available at that price. Southwest had advertised fares but didn’t make enough seats available, the DOT said. From the DOT press release: DOT’s Aviation Enforcement Office found that Southwest advertised one-way, nonstop fares “for $100 or less” for travel on Feb. 14, 2013, but failed to include a reasonable number of seats available in a significant number of city-pair markets in the fare sale. In addition, on Jan. 30, 2013, Southwest advertised $66 one-way fares from Dallas Love Field to Branson, Mo., between March 1, 2013, and March 21, 2013. However, there were no seats available at the sale fare on any day during the sale period. By advertising fares for which a reasonable number of seats were not available and advertising fares that were not available at all, Southwest violated the full fare advertising rule and engaged in prohibited unfair and deceptive practices. DOT Nabs Frontier Airlines – Advertising Violations DOT enforcement office is out with a $80,000 civil consent fine against Frontier Airlines for violations of fare advertising rules. DOT investigation found that Frontier, for a period of nine months, conducted email advertising to promote its World MasterCard with a statement that consumers would qualify for a free round-trip ticket by joining the card. Frontier failed to note consumers would have to also pay certain fees and taxes to qualify for the free ticket. These mandatory charges were not disclosed anywhere in the advertisements or in the footnotes. Merry Christmas American Eagle – Love, DOT Your FlyersRights tarmac delay rule allowed DOT to fine American Eagle $200,000 for keeping passengers on its airplanes too long at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport last Christmas Day. The carrier violated DOT rules that prevent airlines from keeping passengers on grounded airplanes for more than three hours without allowing them to get off the airplane. Boeing 787, Quality You Can Count On! A week or so ago we actually thought, it’s been a few days so we’re due to hear about another Boeing 787 issue. Right on cue a 787 delivery to Air India was hit by an electrical problem last Wednesday. The fault was found in a transformer rectifier unit that powers cockpit display and other critical functions. (You know a product has real issues when the media can and will identify failing parts by their name.) At least this problem came to light before the plane entered revenue service. Read More: WSJ Homeland In-Security TSA Accused Of 9,600 Cases Of Agent Misconduct An incriminating report on airport agents’ behavior released by the General Accounting Office last week found more than 9,600 cases of misconduct within TSA between 2010 and 2012, a 26% increase in misconduct, with the number steadily rising over the years. Only 17% of the violators were fired; most were either reprimanded orsuspended. The acts of abuse varied, ranging from incidents of TSA officers caught sleeping on the job, leaving their shifts without permission, arriving late or sometimes not even showing up at all! In some instances agents let their families and friends through security with prohibited items. In another case, a TSA agent was suspended for 30 days after a closed-circuit camera caught the officer failing to individually examine X-ray images of passenger items, as required by agency policy. There were also 56 cases of theft and bribery. One TSA agent admitted to stealing between $10,000 and $30,000 from passengers; two admitted taking $40,000 from a traveler’s bag at New York’s JFK Airport. “TSA employees receive good Federal pay and benefits,” said Paul Hudson, FlyersRights president. “Today with high unemployment, especially among military veterans with good records, there is no excuse for not quickly weeding out and firing screeners for misconduct or incompetence.” “Yet GAO audits and Congressional testimony show a deteriorating and dysfunctional management at TSA,” Hudson continued. “Not firing employees unless criminal conduct is proven by a preponderance of evidence shows a dangerous laxity as well as a double standard.” “Airline passengers are regularly arrested or fined for far less serious infractions than many TSA employees are being charged with,” Hudson said. “The White House and Congress need to require TSA have zero tolerance for security employee misconduct, as well as management incompetence, starting at the top.” In your experience, where is the worst domestic TSA checkpoint? (Reply to this email or kendallc@FlyersRights.org). Read More: CNN Read More: TravelMole Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights Founded by Kate Hanni in 2007, FlyersRights Paul Hudson, president of 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!