Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Breaking BAAd
No Miles for You!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Airlines often forget that the way people are communicated with can make all the difference toward customer perception. 
Few industries test their customers' patience like the airlines. Travelers tweet daily about delays, cancellations, lost bags and testy gate agents. By Evan Eile, USA TODAY
It is understandable that flights may be late, and it happens to the best of airlines.

An airline can serve up a mediocre meal, use second rate aircraft, run three hours late and still people will forgive them if they've been told what is going on.  

The difference between keeping the passenger in the dark or in the loop is so short, and a little smile goes a long way, plus it costs nothing.

This is illustrated by Jackie T.'s story to FlyersRights about her treatment by American Airlines on a flight from Denver to Aruba.

We first flew to Miami to catch our flight to Aruba.  About an hour before our flight was to board, there was an announcement that it had been cancelled. No explanation.

We had to wait in line for about an hour so they could re-book on a completely different airline the next day. Most of the employees seemed to have a "What are you going to do, fire me?" kind of attitude. 

All the luggage was removed from the first flight, except for about 10 of us.  We had to wait FOUR hours until AA found our 'lost' luggage along with the other 10 angry passengers. The staff was so rude and ambiguous about where it might be, sending us to four different baggage carousels.

The next day when we checked into our re-booked flight on US Airways we discovered one person in our party wasn't booked on the flight, a second was listed as an infant and we had to pay new baggage fees!
The real difference between airlines depends on the employees you interact with; the gate agents, ticket counter and flight attendants. 
It's what makes the difference between good or bad service with any airline.   
Good customer service has a lot to do with passenger communication, in what can often be a disorientating and confusing travel process, especially during connections that don't go to plan.  
Keeping passengers informed ensures that they feel comfortable and confident in what's going on and that they feel they are being cared for on an individual basis.
As to the Miami AA staff just shrugging; it's understandable that sometimes people at the front counter are just as uninformed as the passenger, or they may be exhausted from answering the same question 250 times.  But being unhelpful or rude won't make the job any easier.  All that does is make the passengers furious and make a bad situation worse.
If this is a common occurrence, the airline definitely needs to sort out its training to its customer service staff, at the very least educating them on the product they are actually selling. This is very basic stuff for a major carrier and there is no excuse for it not being executed properly.
Airline staff politely explaining that, they too are not aware yet, or don't have information about the problem takes 30 seconds.  And while it's not a satisfactory answer to passengers' questions, at least they'd go away feeling as if it was because staff didn't know the answer, as opposed to just being rude or objectionable.
Is My Seat Included?
Ryanair's New Customer Service Strategy: Be Nice! 

Expect pigs to fly.

Last week Ryanair's CEO, Michael "vertical straphanger seats and pay-toilets" O'Leary came out with an unprecedented statement, that they now care about you!

The airline will transform its "abrupt culture" to win customers over to its budget ways, reports Reuters.

"We should try to eliminate things that unnecessarily piss people off," O'Leary told the company's annual general meeting, after several shareholders complained about the impact of customer service on sales.

This comes on the heels of Ryanair winning the top spot of worst 100 big brands serving the British market.

The company said today it would take it easy on fining customers over bags and just be nicer when it talks to them.

"A lot of those customer services elements don't cost a lot of money ... It's something we are committed to addressing over the coming year," O'Leary said.

"I am very happy to take the blame or responsibility if we have a macho or abrupt culture. Some of that may well be my own personal character deformities," O'Leary said.

Hello, Spirit and Allegiant?

Flying These Days is a Frisky Business
TSA's New Tiered Screening Process

In a move away from a "one-size-fits-all" approach, the Transportation Security Administration is planning to adopt a three-tiered system for passenger and baggage screening at U.S. airports.

TSA will pre-select passengers for "expedited, standard or enhanced" screening at the time of booking.

The information will be embedded in the barcode of the boarding pass.

According to TravelWeekly, the new procedure will rely on existing data in the Secure Flight system that is used to match passenger reservations records with the FBI's watch list.

Low-risk passengers selected for expedited screening would be assigned at the airport to the lanes now used for TSA's PreCheck program, where pre-approved frequent flyers are permitted to keep their shoes and belts on, and to keep laptops in their cases.

Applications will be accepted online, but applicants will have to visit an enrollment center to provide a fingerprint. The first two enrollment centers are expected to open this fall at Washington Dulles International Airport and Indianapolis International Airport.
Winging It
Allegiant Flight Attendants Handing Out Notices 

If you're brave enough to book with Allegiant Air, listen up. Some flight attendants are fed up with how things are run. Their union says they have to deal with too many angry customers who are upset with delayed flights and extra charges. 
Some Allegiant flights now have the flight attendants handing out information flyers to deplaning passengers explaining that attendants will continue to provide quality customer service, despite the lengthy flight delays that have so angered their customers recently.

The Transportation Workers Union represents the flight attendants and says attendants wrongly become the target of these frustrations.

"Obviously we're put in a position with customers who are unhappy because of these delays or cancellations, and we don't have any way to answer them because these are decisions made by the company," says Thom McDaniel, International Vice President of the Transportation Workers Union.

McDaniel says that extra fees for on-board drinks, snacks, and carry-on luggage are pushing customers away.

The union started a website,, to voice their concerns with the company. They have been in an ongoing battle to reach an agreement on a contract with Allegiant for nearly three years.

Read More: Fox Las Vegas news
United's "Fly the Friendly Skies" Slogan Returns

After almost a 20-year hiatus, United Airlines is once again urging travelers to "fly the friendly skies."

When several FlyersRights members emailed us this story last week, we thought: wouldn't it be nice if United rolled out this campaign as part of a package of service improvements?
We just can't see the slogan working with today's race to the bottom.  

Henry Harteveldt, travel analyst for Hudson Crossing, called the campaign "a very bold move for United," but said the advertising carried "the risk of failure: If passengers don't see United fulfilling its promise of being a 'user-friendly' airline, the advertising will be seen as hollow and will backfire. ...
Tim Winship, publisher of, a Web site on travel loyalty programs, was dismissive of the campaign, calling "friendly skies" "so last century. In 2013, the skies are anything but friendly, and to suggest otherwise is to insult the intelligence of consumers and invite their scorn. 
United has a huge credibility gap problem. A bit courageous to proclaim the friendly skies when you can't get above 80% on time and every message from United proclaims enhancement while delivering degradation. (United Airlines Named The Worst Domestic Carrier).

By the way, how does calling your sky friendly differentiate you from all the other airlines sharing that airspace with you?

Is that AA flight 10 miles ahead of us in the unfriendly skies? 
Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights
Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights
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!

Donate Button

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Fee For All
$27 billion of deception
Sky High Hidden Costs of Low Fares

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
This settles it.

From the department of; If there was any doubt the airlines are giving you the shaft; a new report says passenger extra charges generated $27.1 billion in 2012, with airlines like Delta, United and American leading the revenue race.

The figure represents a 20 percent jump over 2011.

And just about none of it is taxed by Uncle Sam.

Taxpayers are paying the tab as airlines raise fees instead of airfares. 

There's a 7.5 percent federal tax on every airline ticket. The money goes into a fund that pays for the air transportation system: airports, capital improvements and the operation of the Federal Aviation Administration.

But over the past decade, the amount of money flowing into that fund - mostly ticket-tax revenues - has fallen short of projections. When that happens, Congress can increase general fund contributions to cover the FAA's budget. In both fiscal 2009 and 2010, Congress appropriated an additional amount of almost $1 billion.

When the airlines keep ticket prices down by shifting billions of profit to baggage fees, they also save hundreds of millions in federal taxes they would have owed if they had hiked ticket prices by that amount.

The airlines are bypassing aviation-specific taxes that come out of ticket prices and the aviation system itself is ending up poorer. 
Obviously this is a loophole that must be closed, which would probably make air fares rise but airlines would again be forced to offer decent service to be competitive.

The report says about half of these fees are things the customer will never see, or forced upon the customer. For United Airlines they include things like mileage payments from Chase, Economy Plus and first class buy-ups. 
The breakout of Southwest's revenue is particularly interesting, since they have no bag fees.  

"Every year, key numbers are getting larger. The most aggressive airlines easily generate more than 20 percent of their revenue from a la carte fees," according to the report by IdeaWorks

All these extra charges add up to deceptive advertising, making it harder for passengers to know and compare the true cost of tickets at the time of booking.

United Airlines was tops among carriers in the total amount of non-fare revenue collected last year, followed by Delta, American and Southwest, the study found. Ultra-budget carrier Spirit Airlines collected the most as a percentage of its total income, with fees and other extras making up 38.5 percent of its revenue.

 The whole system is insane and needs an overhaul, and that's what FlyersRights is hoping to do this week in Washington

But we're up against airline lobbyists whose job is to ensure Congress do nothing to change the present structure. 

Support FlyersRights!

Frontier Charges Delaware's Fliers Extra for Houston, After Route Canceled
A banner hangs at the New Castle County Airport advertising Frontier Airlines' destinations from Delaware. Among them is Houston, which Frontier canceled service to last week. / KYLE GRANTHAM/THE NEWS JOURNAL
Original article: DelawareOnline
It was, they believed, a stroke of incredible luck. In May, 14 members of a Wilmington-area family heading to Houston, Texas, for an Oct. 5 wedding were able to book tickets from New Castle Airport for a bargain price.

But Tuesday, with less than a month before the wedding, they received emails from Frontier telling them their flight had been canceled. The airline, which discontinued service from Delaware to Houston as of Oct. 2, still will offer connecting service through Denver, but customers holding direct-to-Houston tickets must pay the difference in price.

"It was so convenient. Now it's turned into, there's drama here," said Loria Bafundo, of Wilmington, whose boyfriend is the bride's uncle. They were told that paying for a connecting flight would cost an additional $376 per person, each way, Bafundo said. "Honestly, I don't think we're going to go at all."

Analysts said the inconvenience associated with an airline's decision to discontinue a route from a small airport like New Castle is a part of life, especially one at Frontier, a small airline that has struggled financially.

But even under those conditions, Frontier is sending unhealthy signals by bucking an industry standard, said Jay Sorensen, president of the IdeaWorks Company, an airline consulting firm based in Milwaukee. As long as there's a connecting flight, it's normal for the airline to absorb the added costs to get the passengers to their destination, he said.

Frontier started service at New Castle Airport in July, offering flights to Houston, as well as Chicago-Midway, Denver, Orlando and Tampa, Fla. Service to Fort Myers, Fla., begins Nov. 16. Airline officials say ridership has been strong out of New Castle Airport for every destination except Houston.

Maureen Cushing, the bride's aunt, said she was told that if she chose to take a connecting flight, she would need to leave the prior day and then spend 11 hours in transit.

Fliers making such a switch would have their change fee waived but would have to pay the difference in price, confirmed Kate O'Malley, Frontier spokeswoman.
The Screamliner Diaries
Norwegian Air Shuttle Grounds Its 787s 
On Monday, Norwegian Air Shuttle suffered another "technical fault" with one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the latest in a series of glitches for the jet.

"We had a technical problem with a hydraulic pump, resulting in a weight limitation and unfortunately we had to leave 70 passengers behind in New York on Sunday," Norwegian spokesman Lasse Sander-Nilsen said yesterday.

"We have not done the math yet, but we expect that Boeing will take their share of responsibility," he added.

Norwegian had to briefly ground both of its Dreamliners earlier this month due to various technical faults, including brake and power issues.

Just last week Norwegian Air Shuttle briefly grounded both of its new Boeing 787 jets after the aircraft experienced technical problems. 
Norwegian Air said it was forced to cancel a 787 flight from Oslo to Bangkok last Saturday after the ground crew tried for several hours to power up the plane while it was parked at Oslo Airport Gardermoen and connected to an external electrical supply unit.

Norwegian Air Shuttle had grounded its other 787 on Sept. 2 after a cockpit display indicated a problem with the plane's brakes. 

Dangerous overheating of the lithium-ion batteries on two planes in January led to the grounding of all 787 jets worldwide. Investigators still have not determined the root cause of the two incidents, but Boeing has modified the battery system in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Quote of the Week:
I remember when air travel was fun. Now it's an uncomfortable, often irritating and degrading, experience. 
The modern air traveler has basically sacrificed all their rights to respectful treatment and comfort on the alter of security and economic expedience.
I've had divorces less stressful than flying.

-Catewool, Northfield MA (via NYT)

Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights
Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights
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!

Donate Button

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Ring Their Bell
Action Alert

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

FlyersRights is headed to Washington to fight for you! 
We'll be on Capitol Hill September 12-18 to build upon your airline passenger's bill of rights
But we need your help. Be our lobbying team. Pick up the phone and notify the key Congress people below that you need more passenger rights - especially if you are their constitutant!  These are the people that can make it happen.
Help us grease the skids by letting these members know you're mad as hell about flyer's rights.   
(Look up your representative at:
U.S. Senate:
NameCommittee (website)Phone
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, (WV) Chm. Commerce, Science & Transportation202-224-0411 
Sen John Thune, (SD) Ranking Member Commerce, Science & Transporatation202-224-0411
Sen. Maria Cantwell, (WA) Chm.Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety & Security202-224-9000
Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA)Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security202-224-3121
Bill Nelson (FL)Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security202-224-3121
Kelly Ayotte (NH), Ranking MemberSubcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security202-224-1251
Claire McCaskill, Claire (MO), Chm.Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance202-224-1270
Dean Heller (NV), Ranking MemberSubcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance202-224-1251
Patty Murray (WA), Chm. 202-224-3121
Susan Collins (ME), Ranking Memeber 202-224-2523

U.S. House of Representatives:

Bill Shuster (PA), Chm.Transportation & Infrastructure Committee202-225-9446
Nick Rahall (WV) Ranking Member
Transportation & Infrastructure Committee202-225-4472
Peter DeFazio, Member
Transportation & Infracture Committee202-225-6416
Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Chm.Subcommittee on Aviation202-225-9446
Tom Latham (IA), Chm.

Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee   202-225-2141
Frank Wolf (VA)
Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee202-225-5136
Ed Pastor (AZ), Ranking Member
Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee202-225-4065
Darrell Issa (CA), Chm.

Carolyn Maloney (NY), Ranking Member

Jason Chaffetz (UT), Chm.Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations202-225-7751
Spencer Bachus (AL), Chairman  202-225-4921
Blake Farenhold (TX) 

Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee202-225-7742
Richard Hudson (NC), Chm.Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Transportation Security  202-226-8417
Mike Rogers (AL)Subcommittee on Transportation Security202-226-8417 
Candice Miller (MI)Subcommittee on Transportation Security202-225-2106
Susan Brooks (IN), Chm.Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications202-226-8417
Mark Sanford (SC)Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications and TSA Subcommittee202-225-3176
Cedric Richmond (LA), Ranking MemberSubcommittee on Transportation Security202-226-2616
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX)
Subcommittee on Transportation Security202-225-3816
Eric Swalwell (CA)
Subcommittee on Transportation Security510-370-3322

Squad Effort

This is an ideal time to talk with staffers and voice your CONCERNS about our hot-topic ISSUES:  Airlines' deptive ticketing and advertising PRACTICES, the lack of legroom, safety and security issues, delays and scheduling, airline mergers, the TSA, frequent-flyer ripoffs, customer service complaints and a never-ending series of fees.
When you call, ask to speak to the aviation or transportation aide.  Not everyone has one, so a staffer is fine.

Tell that person that you strongly support airline passenger rights, including the hot-topic issues above.
Ask if you can expect the Congress member's support.  If they won't commit, don't press it.  Just try for a yes or no.

If the answer is "No,' politely ask why not.

Ask for their full name and try to get their e-mail address as well.  If they balk at this, tell them that we will soon be sending out a congressional newsletter on airline passenger issues.

Thank them for their time.

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!

Donate Button

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Fifty Shades of Stay

The Anticlimax of Airline Travel in the U.S.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ten years ago, if we talked about all the
changes in store for airline passengers  concerning fees and diminishing services, most of us would have been utterly enraged.

But instead, the airline industry has slowly boiled us like live frogs with fuel fees, baggage fees, fees for credit cards, fees for phone tickets, fees for carry-ons, smaller planes, reduced frequencies, no more free snacks (or drinks on some carriers), the list is endless.
The industry as a whole is a case study in business ethics about how a business starts out by treating customers wonderfully and then ends up treating them like ATMs with disposable income.
The NYTimes recently wrote about Air Travel, Like Other Facets of American Life, Is Not What It Used to Be.  It accurately depicts the economic state of affairs in the U.S. airline industry post-bailout as well as the de-humanizing of customer service and the loss of services. Now we have fee creep, where airline fees bear no relationship to the cost of the services provided and massively exceed the amount which could be fairly accepted.
What has changed today, according to the article, is the erosion of a common minimum experience. The aviation experience has been chopped into a series of moments, and each moment becomes an opportunity to upsell.

You can stick with the dismal base model or you can upgrade. The result is that air travel has become a caste system.
There's the no-legroom caste; the caste that buys $50 of extra, "economy-plus" legroom; and the plentiful-legroom caste up front.  
The legality of oligopoly practices in U.S. aviation allows the legacy carriers to act in lockstep in terms of reducing amenities, so that no carrier is at a competitive disadvantage.  
Culture of Fear 

Then there is the culture of fear at U.S. airports. 
You're constantly being reminded of the boogyman. 

Everyone acts like security guards instead of customer service representatives.
The border patrol with the black uniforms and the guns. The fingerprinting and picture taken by the man in the booth, being asked serious questions and treated like you're under suspicion at all times.The TSA dressing (and acting) like police officers. 

Even in the air, flight attendants have taken on a role of authoritarianism and acting like they're the flying police force.

Just about everyone you deal with at the airport or in the air has forgotten that they're in a service industry. 
There is no sense that the rules are guidelines, everything is enforced. If you get out of line, you get yelled at. 
That's what happens when profit takes a seat above dignity.

This absurd state of affairs has two sets of long-suffering victims. The first is the legacy airline passengers, who endure service standards beneath those offered by legacy carriers in other countries with similar lengths (Australia, South Africa, East Asia).
The lack of choice is evocative of the old Soviet Union; "If you want a meal, buy a First Class ticket".  The other victims are the shareholders, whose companies plunge into bankruptcy in this anti-competitive market. 
It is reasonable for all fliers to expect courteous, friendly service at any price point, no matter what extras or upsells they've paid for.

There's a lot of rudeness towards passengers on the part of too many airline employees. That shouldn't be (this doesn't happen even at McDonald's).  

A race to the bottom is not the only option.

Airline Fees - Bad Profits
There is such a thing as "bad profits." You annoy customers so much with petty fees that don't add value, that in the long run you lose money. 

Bad profits include those generated by reducing customer service, imposing restrictive conditions, or by overcharging and nickel-and-diming. 

Last week Forbes wrote about the airlines being addicted to unfair fees. An example was charging passengers $100 to change flights if they got to the airport early, even when that earlier flight will depart with empty seats. 
Airline customers understand this, too - these charges aren't justified by cost differences or a superior experience. 
Airlines are seeing fee profits roll in, which reinforces the practice to overcharge in the first place.  Customers hate this and adjust their behavior to fly less.
Now that a possible war is looming and the price of oil will surely go up, what new fees can we expect?  The airlines already charge for a fuel cost.  Will we now have to pay a double surcharge for extra fuel?!
From the E-Mailbag! 

One of the stronger arguments in opposition to the merger is the effect huge fare increases are having on the cruise industry.  Within these markets (Ft. Lauderdale and Miami) we see more than doubling of fares - with prices from Midwest cities to Ft. Lauderdale approaching $1000 RT.  This is devastating for the cruise industry, which has invested billions of dollars in ships to serve these major markets.  Ironically, in March 2014 it is far less expensive to fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico than to fly to Ft. Lauderdale.

As a direct result, we are seeing the lowest holiday fares on Christmas season and Spring Break sailing ever.  People can afford the cruise, but they react badly to the air fare to get to and from the ship.

Cheers and best to you and Kate,

Maybe I am missing something, but in checking March airfares from Chicago or Cleveland to Fort Lauderdale or Miami they are $400-$700 RT and slightly more to Puerto Rico, but not $1,000. 

Carnival did announce it was cancelling its 2014 cruises in Europe due to high airfares from the US.  Cruise lines in general have been hurting and offering reduced rates.  This has more to do with a series of accidents starting with the Concordia in Italy having hurt the cruise line industry reputation, the poor European economy, and instability in North Africa and the Middle East, as well as to higher airfares. 

Florida in March is especially popular due to Spring Break vacationing by both families and college students, and this leads to higher airfares.

Paul Hudson, President 

One of the subjects you may wish to research is the chronic cancellation of flights when the airline thinks the flight is not going to be profitable.

On a recent Southwest trip, the 9am flight I was on was cancelled, ostensibly due to weather. 

But being a pilot myself, I looked up the aviation forecast and conditions for the destination and found the conditions and forecast were more than acceptable for the intended time of arrival.  In fact the forecast conditions were for weather that would be acceptable for visual flight rules!

Earlier that morning, one of the gate agents hinted the flight might be cancelled by telling me "They're going to eliminate this flight because it's never full enough".

When they did, I was offered a 6pm departure.  You're basically stranded!  I rented a car and drove.
Forget about having individual passengers bumped, this is bumping an entire flight!

The cancellation of a flight for economic reasons is contrary to an airline's federal certificate to provide public air transportation on a published schedule basis. 
Lying to passengers about the reason for a flight cancellation is fraud, and should result in both fines and serious damages, including potentially punitive damages awarded to passengers.  

The problem is that the DOT is rarely if ever penalizing airlines for such misbehavior and passengers have no practical legal recourse to make airlines desist from this practice, and the airlines know it. 
Under the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 airlines are exempted from all state and local consumer protection laws, and an airline can have any action brought in small claims or state courts removed to US District Courts.  Federal courts have generally refused to entertain consumer class actions by airline passengers and litigation expenses generally far exceed ANY potential recoveries for consumer complaints. 

My suggestion is for passengers who suspect that an airline is cancelling a flight for economic reasons to, a.) Write a complaint to the DOT and FAA requesting an investigation as well as to your state and local consumer protection agencies that handle consumer fraud, with a copy to, the airline and your Congressional representatives, b.) Request that the airline provide full compensation for your alternative transportation and inconvenience.    

Airline employees who know in detail about such practices can also turn an airline in, and expose such fraud, which cannot really occur without management's blessing, and potentially receive whistleblower awards based on the amount that this airline practice has cost the traveling public. has an anonymous hotline for such whistleblowers. Only when such practices are exposed and punished will they stop.

Paul Hudson, President 

I have submitted the following comment to the FAA:

It is the airlines' greed to use smaller planes and fly more frequently to try to capture business at hubs.  The entire process of flying through hubs is a flawed algorithm.  I was involved, in the 1970s, in a study of store and forward communication packet transmission for the defense department.  We found that a hub and spoke algorithm was inefficient and subject to failure.

Now consider an aircraft as a communication packet.  It is subject to the same inefficiencies and failures.  Therefore, I urge you to not provide a temporary suspension of the 3 hour tarmac rule just to ameliorate the inefficient algorithm the airlines are using to try to capture markets.  They can fly larger aircraft and less frequently to alleviate the decrease in available air traffic controllers and they can fly more direct routes as that study showed is more efficient.  I understand that it will take some time to get these larger planes out of the moth ball status from the Arizona desert but that's the price they will have to pay for a poor decision.  Meanwhile the public should not be asked to pay for their inefficient decision.
M.K. provided formal opposition to the airline request earlier this year to suspend the 3-Hour Rule when sequestration threatened to reduce air traffic control staffing. 
We have also long noted that a major reason for the congestion at major hub airports that you pointed out was the elimination of jumbo jets that can carry up to 500 passengers in favor of narrow body jetliners that carry less than 150 for domestic air travel. This increases air traffic at busy airports, increases air travel times (which have increased each decade since 1980) and reduced reliability.
Jumbo jets were expected to be the main strategy to increase airport capacity in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago without building more airports.  The use of regional jets in the past decade flying point to point and often avoiding congested airports has helped somewhat. 
However, airlines and airport authorities have made large investments in the hub and spoke model and wish to protect those investments at all costs. The traveling public presently has no representation on major airport authority boards, and airport authorities are generally exempt from antitrust laws.  FlyersRights has proposed that passenger reps need to be on such boards. They could charge lower landing fees for jumbo jets among other ways to encourage more efficient use of airport capacity.

Paul Hudson, President 

Subject: United now has a policy of lying

United flight 3426 out of St. Louis was maintenance late, confirmed by ground crews to me, but the airline claimed weather. 
Stories abound of how people were denied lodging because of weather when it was really maintenance issues. 
Another example of airline consumer fraud that needs to be severely penalized to prevent such behaviors from becoming ingrained practices.  By allowing some airlines to get away with such misbehavior it also places honest airlines who do not lie to their passengers to reduce expenses at a competitive disadvantage.

Paul Hudson, President 

When you go to a physician's office his or her diplomas', awards and certifications are clearly posted on the walls. If you go to McDonalds, Wendy's  or Burger King new employees are readily identified by a "Trainee" name tag. 
It is time to post the pilot's credentials in the gate area prior to boarding and on the cabin door of the aircraft. We have the right to know in whom we are intrusting our lives! 

After the recent Asiana air crash in San Francisco caused apparently by inexperienced and/or poor manual landing and English language skills, FlyersRights has looked into this issue.  
We have yet to make a formal recommendation but are leaning toward posting of basic pilot information on airline or FAA web sites such as safety and testing performance, peer rating, as well as hours of experience and disciplinary record.  In short, similar type of information that is available for doctors, lawyers and some other professionals offering services to the public.  Such postings we believe would raise standards for airline pilots which some believe have reached dangerously low levels.

Paul Hudson, President 

This is economy class seating in the 1960's on a Pan Am flight. It came from the web site Retronaut.
What a difference!

Thank you for your good work on behalf of all of us who now barely will fly because of the cattle car way we are treated.

You should run an article about DVT and its increase because of tight leg room and lack of mobility.
This is a Boeing 747 jumbo jet seating 9 across, which is now configured to seat 10 across, with space between rows and leg room greatly reduced also.

Paul Hudson, President 

Re. an exemption for airlines, because of a 'service' in particular; 

'The courts in enacting the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 Congress also intended to bar all tort lawsuits such as false imprisonment, fraud or infliction of emotional distress where an airline's conduct relates to its operations, unless the passenger was injured.'

is dangerous to democracy because it makes it easier for airlines to abuse the Patriot Act. The exemption re fraud is absurd, there is the FTC and laws governing businesses. 
Please file an appeal and/or a class action suit. 11 hours on a plane is at least 8 hours too long. I suggest you ask the airline staff how would they like to be treated the way the passengers are treated and what would they do about it if they were treated that way. 
I wonder if some day passengers would revolt and deplane themselves or upon landing hold the crew hostage for several hours so the crew learns how it feels. 
There are many flights with many passengers each, thus thousands of passengers. If the airlines keep on behaving as they are, perhaps statistically they are bound to push someone so far they 'snap' and other angry passengers may rebel instead of joining the crew in subduing the 'snapped' passenger. 
If the airlines are too stupid to see that their greed is inexorably leading to disaster then increase regulation of the airlines. Maybe the deregulation needs to be repealed. 
What business school teaches that the best way to have a profitable business is to abuse the customers? 
It appears that the airline staff have degrees from that business school. 
Any other business that treats customers as airlines do would have gone out of business long ago. I suggest giving airlines a little pinch in the pocket as a reminder that they need the passengers, a one-day boycott, nobody flies anywhere on December 17, the anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk.
FRO has proposed that the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 needs to be amended, since it has become under court interpretations the Airline Consumer Protection Exemption Act.  Even more so in the past 8 years since it is combined with the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, more accurately described as the Class Action Elimination Act.  Since 2005, only once has a court approved an airline passenger class action and that approval was subsequently rescinded. 

Our hope is this Congress which must run for re-election in 2014 will finally see past airline industry campaign contribution checks and their frequent flyer perks.  
Failing that, direct consumer or voter action may well be needed.  FlyersRights is trying to identify a few (or even one) of the 535 members of Congress willing to stand up for airline passenger rights and sponsor the needed reforms. 
FlyersRights members can ask their two Senators and Congress persons themselves where they stand on airline passenger rights reform.  A full package is available for those interested in the details.

Paul Hudson, President 
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!