Airline Passenger Group Lists Essential Reforms
News| | By Jason Owen
WASHINGTON, May 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In a statement to the U.S. Congress and Department of Transportation, in the wake of shocking internet videos of airline passenger abuse and chaos, FlyersRights.org, the largest airline passenger organization, has conveyed a list of “essential air travel reforms.”
Paul Hudson, President and longtime Public Member of the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, noted, “In the past month about 1 billion people have viewed on video the shockingly violent removal of Dr. Dao from a United Airlines flight on April 9th for refusal to give up his seat, followed by removal of a mother with two babies after an apparent assault and battery by an American Airlines flight attendant, followed by Delta Airlines removals of a passenger for using the restroom during a long tarmac delay and then a family of four with a one and two year old over the use of a paid for seat with a child seat threatened with arrest, jail and removal of their children so their seat could be used by a standby passenger. And now on Monday Spirit Airlines passengers mutinied at Fort Lauderdale Airport after the airline repeatedly canceled about 300 flights blaming weather when the real reason was lack of pilots.”
It is obvious that airline passenger mistreatment is not isolated and will not be solved by relying airline promises or voluntary policies.
The same plea to Congress was made in 2000 after a publicized tarmac confinement incident in Detroit by Northwest Airlines involving 4,800 passengers, but was found to be totally ineffective after it was discovered in 2008 that at least 150,000 passengers per year were be held against their will on the tarmac for up to 12 hours to prevent “passenger migration”. This abusive airline practice was only ended by the DOT promulgated Three Hour Rule effective in 2010.
Accordingly, in addition to the comprehensive reform proposals contained in the Flyersrights.org Airline Passengers Bill of Rights 2.0 available on the Flyersrights.org web site www.flyersrights.org FlyersRights.org believes the following measures are essential to prevent hundreds if not thousands of incidents of unjust, unnecessary removal or bumping of passengers by airlines and to mitigate the effects of increasing frequent mass flight cancelations.
- Suspend overselling of seats and require airlines to justify need for this exception to normal contract law, in contemplation of repeal of the oversales rule.
- End involuntary bumping especially when passengers have boarded aircraft.
- Repeal or modify Patriot Act provision that makes ignoring or disobeying flight crew instruction a federal felony (inference with flight crew) punishable by 20 years in prison, now used to threaten, eject and have passengers arrested for minor non terrorism related matters (prior to 2001 generally punished by FAA fines or under state criminal laws)
- Modify or eliminate rules that allow airlines to charge high change fees or forfeiture of paid ticket reservations for name corrections or substitutions
- Basic Due Process for Passengers.
- Mandatory written notices and warnings to passenger with their rights, remedies (Yellow Card solution) and obligations prior to removal or bumping, with right of notice of infraction and opportunity for immediate appeal to Captain,
- Require Captain to sign form finding Passenger ejection necessary for safety or security of flight and certifying that Passenger has been provided with written notice of rights and remedies,
- Plain Language statement of passenger rights and remedies in Contract of Carriage and in seat pockets including complaint form and claim procedures to airline, DOT, and passenger assistance organizations, with mail addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and fax numbers, plus flight delay and baggage compensation rights under US and international law, plus posters in airports with contact information for detailed rights and remedies.
- Require that airlines offer cash or check for bumping compensation, not vouchers or and prohibit airlines from requiring passengers sign a liability waiver as a condition of receiving compensation.
- Reinstate the reciprocity rule so that when passengers are excessively delayed they by an airline they can use their ticket on a competing airline flight with available seats.
- Stiff penalties for lying to passengers about the reasons for delays and cancelations.