EDITOR'S NOTE: The first edition of this newsletter incorrectly identified Dannel Malloy as Governor of New York. He is, of course, Governor of Connecticut. The fault was entirely mine, and FlyersRights sincerely apologizes for this error.
E-Cigarette Survey Outcome!
Three weeks ago we asked you to weigh in on a new Department of Transportation (DOT)Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The DOT wants to ban use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) on commercial airliners, citing their concern that current research has not proven them safe. We produced a short survey and invited responses from you through this newsletter, and from the general public through our Huffington Post column. Unfortunately, publication in the Huffington Post drew the attention of tobacco industry ballot box stuffers, who badly skewed the results.
Last week, we asked you to retake the survey, so that we could present your views, our members, to the DOT. You stepped up magnificently. We received 20% more responses than from the entire first survey!
We received 985 informative responses. We'll share the results with you today, send a report onward to the DOT, and publish the results on our Huffington Post column.
Our survey asked respondents whether they supported or opposed the DOT's proposed rule, and the reason behind their answer.
As indicated below, respondents voted overwhelmingly in favor of the NPRM. Support was generally on the grounds of health or cabin comfort concerns, while those opposing the ban were about evenly divided between doubts that the devices pose a risk, belief that insufficient research meant regulation was inappropriate, and general objections to regulation.
Do You Support or Oppose the NPRM
Support the NPRM
Oppose the NPRM
Reasons for Supporting the Ban
Legal Reasons--Other legislation supports this rule
Concerned that more research is needed to assure safety
Reasons for Opposing the Ban
Don't believe they pose a health risk
Insufficient research to prove threat
In general, government regulates too much
Smokers, in particular, are restricted enough
CN Governor's Perspective on Snowtober Strandings
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has set a new, very low bar for airline and airport service. Our members, the national media, and the American public believe that passenger safety means protection from ten-hour entrapments in constricting airline seats without food, water, or even cabin power. As op-ed writer Patrick Scully eloquently pointed out in hisConnecticut News Junkie column, "The airline Passengers' Bill of Rights clearly means nothing to JetBlue or Bradley. They violated just about every 'right' listed pertaining to tarmac wait times."
Governor Malloy apparently believes in a different standard of behavior from those to whom we entrust our lives. According to the Governor, quoted in the Governors Journal,"Everyone who landed at the airport, no matter how long they were on the plane, they didn't crash. So we gotta put things in perspective."
So hey, folks, don't expect much more from airline travel than actually surviving that Christmas trip to Grandma's house! According to the governor, expecting safety and comfort just indicates a lack of perspective.
Help Us Launch the Flyers Rights Education Fund
The Flyers Rights Education Fund is the education and service arm of our organization. Approved by the IRS in June, 2011, the Fund gives you a way to contribute to our airline passenger rights efforts through a tax-deductible vehicle. We now support many of our efforts through The Fund:
Our free, 24/7 Hotline
Mass mailings unrelated to political action requests
Press releases related to educational efforts on behalf of airline passenger rights
Now we have an exciting new way for you to leverage your tax-deductible contributions tothe Fund. Paul Hudson, a member of our Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Aviation Consumer Action Project (ACAP), has pooled his personal resources with those of ACAP and friends of our longtime supporter, Ralph Nader, to pledge a matching-gift contribution of $15,000 to Flyers Rights Education Fund.
But you must act now! We must achieve this goal by the end of the year. Please go to theFlyers Rights Education Fund donation page now and give what you can. The coalition's generous offer expires at midnight, December 31, 2011. We must answer the coalition's challenge and meet their contribution goal by the end of the year.
Remember, each and every dollar you contribute during this short window will have a double impact on advancing the cause of airline passenger rights.
Help us stay in the fight! Kate's remarkable responses to Snowtober, in so many national forums, would not have been possible without your generous support. You know that her family can no longer subsidize the effort-without your help, the premier voice of airline passenger rights in America will be stilled.
A Vote of Support
Ever felt awkward when ordering wine at a restaurant? Ever walked into a wine store and had no idea where to begin, what to buy or how much to pay? Ever looked at a European wine label and wondered what's in there?
Then Wine-Flair.com is just for you. It's all about wine education and appreciation, written in plain language.
This fascinating web site supports our efforts, and lets its members and visitors know it. Check out this page on their web site. Frequent travelers from all walks of life, just like you, support our efforts!
What Kate's Saying
Kate continued to provide commentary on the Snowtober Strandings in a continuous stream of radio interviews last week. Her other media appearances included the following.
We are commited to solutions for promoting airline passenger policies that forward first and foremost the safety of all passengers while not imposing unrealistic economic burdens that adversely affect airline profitability or create exhorbitant ticket price increases.
All American air carriers shall abide by the following standards to ensure the safety, security and comfort of their passengers:
Establish procedures to respond to all passenger complaints within 24 hours and with appropriate resolution within 2 weeks.
Notify passengers within ten minutes of a delay of known diversions, delays and cancellations via airport overhead announcement, on aircraft announcement, and posting on airport television monitors.
Establish procedures for returning passengers to terminal gate when delays occur so that no plane sits on the tarmac for longer than three hours without connecting to a gate.
Provide for the essential needs of passengers during air- or ground-based delays of longer than 3 hours, including food, water, sanitary facilities, and access to medical attention.
Provide for the needs of disabled, elderly and special needs passengers by establishing procedures for assisting with the moving and retrieving of baggage, and the moving of passengers from one area of airport to another at all times by airline personnel.
Publish and update monthly on the company’s public web site a list of chronically delayed flights, meaning those flight delayed thirty minutes or more, at least forty percent of the time, during a single month.
Compensate “bumped” passengers or passengers delayed due to flight cancellations or postponements of over 12 hours by refund of 150% of ticket price.
The formal implementation of a Passenger Review Committee, made up of non-airline executives and employees but rather passengers and consumers – that would have the formal ability to review and investigate complaints.
Make lowest fare information, schedules and itineraries, cancellation policies and frequent flyer program requirements available in an easily accessed location and updated in real-time.
Ensure that baggage is handled without delay or injury; if baggage is lost or misplaced, the airline shall notify customer of baggage status within 12 hours and provide compensation equal to current market value of baggage and its contents.
Require that these rights apply equally to all airline code-share partners including international partners.