Wednesday, July 29, 2015

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Railroading Flyers
Five Airlines Took the Wrong Track by Quintupling Prices Following Amtrak Crash
July 28, 2015
It wasn't price gouging, it was "surge pricing" insist the airlines. 
Five airlines are being investigated by the federal government over allegations they raised airfares in the Northeast as desperate travelers flocked their way after the deadly May 12 Amtrak crash in Philadelphia.
Travelers reported airfares as high as $2,300 between New York and DC following the May 12 Amtrak crash that left the busy rail corridor paralyzed for a week prompting an investigation by the Department of Transportation. 

That $2,300 ticket is more than five times what that same flight costs on average, even if booked at the last minute.

United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek spoke at a May 19 Senate hearing claiming travelers faced last-minute airfares, which are generally higher than flights booked in advance.

"We would never take advantage of an opportunity like that, if you viewed it as an opportunity," Smisek said.
But Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) disagreed and demanded a DOT investigation after reports of airfare spikes following the crash.

Last week the DOT sent letters to Delta, American, United, Southwest and JetBlue asking each to detail average fares along the route before, during, and afterthe crash.

The letter demanded an explanation for price increases and asked the airlines whether they communicated with each other about those fares, which might signal collusion.

Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights said, "Hotels can't charge $500 for a $100 room or gas stations $40 for a gallon of gas after a natural or man-made disaster. State laws prohibit such price gouging - some with criminal penalties."
"We would never take advantage of an opportunity like that, if you viewed it as an opportunity," said Jeff Smisek CEO of United Airlines

"Only airlines are exempt from all state laws with the federal DOT as sole regulator. DOT Secretary Foxx should order refunds and fines. This outrageous conduct also merits Congressional action to prohibit future airline price gouging." Hudson said.

This is the second government investigation into airline price collusion within a month. 
In early July the Justice Department alleged Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines were engaged in price-fixing and colluding to restrain seat capacity to push airfares higher.

We Have Regulation In This Country Because Of Abuse Like This

Agree with them or not, there are price gouging laws in this country that attempt to prevent profit from crisis situations. Airlines need to follow the law, just like every other company. 
As FlyersRights pointed out recently, we're fast approaching a tipping point with regards to air travel. It'll end with either new regulations for US airlines on how their operations are conducted, or it will end with consumer rebellion. 

The bottom line is these airlines saw an opportunity to make huge amounts of money off the Amtrak crash and they took advantage of it. Whether or not they'll get charged remains to be seen. 

Add to these investigations the continuing assessment of "fuel" surcharges, despite the cost of fuel being at the lowest price its been in over a decade. Charging passengers this fee is a travesty and represents price gouging as well. 
It is time that the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, or even the Interstate Commerce Commission, take action if the Department of Transportation won't.  

Your Letters! 
Letter writer DP had issues with the way his letter was edited and published last week.  You can see what he initially wrote here.

Re: Minor Leagues

Dear FlyersRights

I am frankly concerned re UAL.  I get good (actually great) treatment, but I don't fly as much as I used to but you can see the things you mentioned when you are in the ticket/gate/boarding areas.  You can also see the employees are not happy and are "just going through the motions" - not good if you are responsible for someone's life and a complicated machine like an airplane.
The lack of "backup" for personnel or planes is very concerning.

Dear FlyersRights:

Don't blame legacy United for how United is being run...all legacy United management left years ago. Continental upper management has been calling the shots to the bottom for years.  CEO/President/Chairman of the Board Smisek, a Continental lawyer, has been at the helm since Glen Tilton left.


Dear FlyersRights:

I am only one person but I think US flyers should start a moo campaign.   It is simple.   Every time airlines treat us as cattle we say MOO.  when asked what did you say we respond politely,
"when we are treated as cattle we respond as cattle"   My guess is that if enough of us did this and it gained national media, the airlines would respond.   Think of a whole mooing airport.


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We publish weekly newsletters. There's no charge to receive any of them:
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Help us make air travel a better experience, or simply show your gratitude for whatever value you find in our work by making a tax-deductible donation:
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Kendall Creighton:
Twitter: @KendallFlyers

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

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Minor Leagues

Service of Major Carriers in the US is Trending Downwards  

July 21, 2015

They’re calling it United Airlines’ summer from hell.

Yet, how is this different from any other summer?
Well, in the airlines’ race to the bottom, United is winning.
Labor unrest. Disgruntled United flight attendants
staged a worldwide protested at airports July 16.
Planes are packed, security lines are long and airline seats are shrinking — plus we’re shelling out more for it every year. 

Airfares are up, averaging nearly $400 in the US last year despite plunging oil prices.
If you feel that’s skyway robbery, finally the government agrees with you. The Department of Justice announced earlier this month it will investigate the airlines for possible anti-competitive price collusion — basically, informing each other on how many flights they’re planning and reducing capacity, resulting in higher ticket prices across the board.
Still, the US government allowed these mergers, hurting consumers. And the fact remains, there are not enough seats in the sky to meet demand today.
June United Airlines incident
United abandons passengers in Goose Bay, Canada barracks
 for 24 hours during unscheduled stopover. 
Another reason that Montreal Convention compensation 
info is essential, and airlines should not be permitted 
to include mechanical breakdowns as 'Acts of God.'
We need to feed a drumbeat of these stories to 
Congress as they happen. -Paul Hudson, president FlyersRights
Earlier this month we saw ‘The Great Technical Glitch’ of July 8 — when a United computer malfunction grounded all its mainline flights.
The airline’s response was a heartfelt 42-second apology on Twitter.
Heck, this was the airline’s second technology glitch in two weeks.
United dismissed notions that they pinched pennies on IT and weren’t really to blame for just a ‘faulty router’.
“This shows why we need the reciprocity rule reinstated and require airlines to have reserves and backup equipment like electricity, phone and Internet for reliability,” says Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights.
“Airlines do not have adequate backup or reserves of equipment or personnel, so air travel has regular brown-outs or black-outs, delaying travelers many hours to several days in situations. 
Passengers who’ve experienced problems on international trips may be entitled to delay compensation up to $6000. Others can get refunds and rebook on another airline if they do not want to wait for United,” said Hudson.
Then, in June, United stranded hundreds of passengers in remote Goose Bay, Canada for 20 hours when it had to divert due to a mechanical issue.
“Another reason that Montreal Convention compensation info is essential, and airlines should not be permitted to include mechanical breakdowns as Acts of God. We need to feed a drumbeat of these stories to Congress as they happen,” said Hudson.
If the current trend continues, United may become a glorified low-cost carrier. In many ways, they already are. Their product lags behind that of JetBlue, which is moving from low-cost carrier to something less. United could, in theory, make money in that scenario. The question is whether that is who they want to become.
Let’s look at United’s own preliminary operational results for June on-time performance, straight from the horse’s mouth — 66.4 percent. It means 1 in 3 flights were delayed more than 15 minutes.
The numbers don’t lie. United is also at the bottom of just about every metric compared to its network peers, both operationally and financially.
The carrier seems to have completely thrown out the fundamentals practiced at Continental Airlines following its merger in 2010, which were: Treat your employees well and they’ll work well. Treat your customers well, and it’ll be good for the bottom line.
Instead, the airline has closed hubs, outsourced half of the company to the lowest bidder, and threatened the remaining employees that they’re next to be outsourced, which shows in their work.
Maybe Wall Street folks are finally starting to take notice that United’s inflated stock performance is more due to the rising tide of reduced competition and lower fuel prices rather than any concrete actions taken by its management.
All international carriers should be invited to fill the void and hold permanent slots on all domestic routes. Free up Americans the right to vote with their dollars.

Your Letters! 

Dear FlyersRights,

Having not flown in almost four years, I took a trip from DFW to Louisville last weekend 9-13 July, on American Airlines.  What could go wrong on a short hop like that?  I found out.  The trip turned out to be like The Odyssey as re-written by Homer.... Simpson.  No problem on the first flight on an Airbus A319, except that the seat in front of me was about 8 inches from my nose, sitting upright.

My return flight on Monday was on a Mesa CRJ-900, due out at 1209 [all times EDT 24-hour]. [All quotes approximate.] Rollback from the gate on-time, and then we sat out by the runway until 1244, when the pilot announced "We had a problem, now fixed.  Just need to do paperwork."  That took another 20 minutes.  About 1305, eight seconds or so of acceleration, then heavy braking "We had another problem, returning to gate.  Take your carry-on bags."

About 75 of us lined up at the counter, where for almost 3 hours one agent, with a second agent about 1/3 of the time, processed people one at a time.  The first general announcement came about 1340: "10 min till mechanic arrives, then about 45 minutes more."

1417: "No more news, another 45 minutes."
1525: "Departure 1700 at the earliest."
1706: Some bags are being unloaded.  At 1710, A passenger said he had gotten on the 1824 flight.

I had been talking to two first-class passengers who were flying via DFW to Tucson.  They had used 100,000 AA miles to visit their granddaughter on her first birthday.  He was wearing a medical-grade lower-face mask to avoid infection, because he was a transplant patient, and he had an appointment for a critical checkup the next day.  They had been second in line upon de-planing.

I told them what I had heard and they went to the ticket counter.  Sorry, but the remaining seats on the 1824 flight had already been given out.  They were given the options of waiting for the original flight, or renting a car and driving to Lexington for a 1946 flight which was scheduled to arrive at DFW 49 minutes before their 2200 flight to Tucson.  A storm front closed the Louisville airport in late afternoon, and had moved toward Lexington, so that was a terrible option.

1737: "Found a spare plane, being towed in."
1849: Pushback from the gate 6 h 40m after the first one.
2050: arrival at DFW gate. [1950 local]

The last thing the gentleman with the transplant needed was more stress, but American Airlines certainly provided it, in spades.

-- Inadequate staff to process passengers for re-booking connections.

-- Not making two lines with one for those with connections.

-- Almost total lack of informational announcements from eithe pilots or gate staff over several hours.

-- Booking young, apparently healthy passengers on the 1824 flight, while ignoring the man with health problems, who was flying first-class and had AA Gold status.

When I got home, I found an automated email from American's computer saying it was so sorry, [deep in it's processor, I assume] and giving me 6000 miles.  When I contacted the people from Tucson the next day, they had goten the same message.  I paid $434.20 for my trip +25 each way for a bag.  I priced their trip as cash, and it would have been over $4300, if they hadn't used miles for the trip.  So 6000 miles for them seems like an added insult.  Way to treat your most loyal customers, American.  Seems like they should have gotten more like 60,000.

D'oh!, American.


In response to "The Emerging Revolution":

Dear FlyersRights:

Good comments. I have little sympathy for US carriers which have erected trade barriers. Here is a note (from the Delta in-flight magazine for July) from the CEO of Delta lamenting the competition from gulf carriers and trying to get us to join their cause.

BTW I am ok with the new seating pattern as it week give me more elbow room and not have to deal with other's "man spread".


Dear FlyersRights:

$2000 round-trip to Europe? No wonder no one visits me here.

And my friend had a Tarmac episode last week in Munich--trying to fly out to Denmark. So sorry that this problem is appearing here too.

I remember in the 90s I had a 2 or 3-hour delay out of Zurich but they didn't load us on the plane and leave us there with no A/C (as they did to my friend and her family last week). They told us at check-in that there was a mechanical delay and my boyfriend and I went to the restaurant and had a nice lunch.

What has happened to those days? It just seems like a no-brainer not to board the plane until everything mechanical is checked. More flights, less time, more pressure, and we are the victims. How is this customer service?

Munich, Germany

Dear FlyersRights:

Wow, another good treatise from you and your colleagues at FR!  You said it most eloquently and certainly factually.

Now, what can the flying public do?  How do we counter this situation? 


We need volunteers to turn up the heat on Congress, presidential candidates and the Obama Administration, which are awash in airline $ and lobbyists, plus Wall Street financiers. 

They are taking no action to stop or reverse public air transportation's accelerated decline
due to the airline oligopoly.

They get special treatment and/or fly corporate or government jets. 

Paul Hudson


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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

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The Emerging Revolution

July 14, 2015

We are in a revolutionary moment.

Air travel today is like a pot that's beginning to boil. In fact, it's already boiling.

All sorts of indicators are there that show flyers are being pushed to the limit: air-rage, 'knee defenders', new sardine seating schemes, Economy 'minus', high bag fees, meaningless frequent-flyer programs and now, airline price collusion.

Though, the most harrowing part of the journey may be the line to the plane through security.

FlyersRights is well-known for criticizing the DOT, FAA and airlines for failing Americans, but this is particularly felt at TSA - a no-man's-land of lost civil liberties.

Flyers know that complaints or resistance here just make things worse and have no practical effect, other than missing the flight or potential 'payback' on the next flight. Hence you have no rights. 

Revolution Brewing

Beware of the power of media propaganda to turn passengers against themselves.

Social and mainstream media are good at getting us to blame each other for everything from carry-ons to air-rage.

Here's a compilation of the type of calamities we get at FlyersRights:

Passenger X waits 90 minutes in a check-in line because Airline X decided to cut its staff to about a third of what it needs to be. When Passenger X finally gets to  the check-in counter, they've missed their flight and the next one is six hours away, plus it's oversold. 

After waiting several hours, an announcement blares that the plane is delayed by weather (but really mechanical or crew shortage, though the airline won't admit that to avoid paying out refunds or hotel costs). Then the flight is cancelled, and the next one isn't until tomorrow. 

So Passenger X and 250 others are stranded in the terminal overnight or have to pay for lodging at their own expense. A call to the airline's 800 number results in a long hold-time and a customer service representative declaring there's nothing they can do. 

The next day, after being bumped off of two earlier flights, Passenger X gets on the flight that should have left 18 hours ago. And instead of seat 32F that was requested, they get 15B and are sardined for 5 hours. They then snap at the person in front who reclines their seat. 

Passenger X gets escorted off the plane by police upon arrival and is now another air-rage statistic for "inexcusable conduct".  

But who's really to blame?

America's Airline Oligopoly

Once upon a time, the U.S. airline industry was a service industry.  Airlines competed with each other based upon their superior customer service. In the 1970s and 80s, dozens of carriers controlled air travel in America. In 1990 the number had dropped to 12. Today, consolidation has left just four major carriers - Southwest, American, Delta and United.

Due to past multiple airline mergers as well as fortress hubs, the few remaining major airlines have become an oligopoly (and a monopoly on some routes).  They can get away with price gouging and poor customer service because there are few other options.

FlyersRights gets many passenger complaints about poor service, often saying they will "never fly  ___ Airlines again!"  Yet, due to lack of choice, they are trapped.

Then last month at  a meeting of the International Air Transport Association airline executives talked about 'capacity discipline', a new buzzword for limiting flights and seats to drive higher prices and fatter profit margins. This year discipline is working: the I.A.T.A. recently projected that the airline industry profits would double this year to nearly $30 billion, a record.

Global alliances play this game too. Has anybody bought a ticket to Europe in the past few months for example? It used to be you could fly to there for under a thousand, and now it's minimum two thousand for a round-trip this summer.

At A Tipping Point 

The system is broken. The reform process has been hijacked by corporations. 

When FlyersRights helped pass the Tarmac Delay Rule in 2009, it took eighteen months to federally regulate this aspect of the airline industry. 

Now, lobbying firms are  using millions to influence Congress and are blocking additions to the Passenger Rights Bill

These proposed improvements seek to define and address seat space, airfare fees, frequent flyer programs, airport governance and include greater consumer protections. 

It also aims to protect travelers from the airlines' abusive practices, including overbooking, rebooking, ticket refunds, cancelled and delayed flights, lost luggage and misleading advertisements on fares.

But we can't do this alone. We need your support more than ever! Please consider joining us with a contribution to

Getting on a Plane? 
Put This Number in Your Phone:
1 (877) Flyers6
  1 (877) 359-3776
The FlyersRights HOTLINE!

We publish weekly newsletters. There's no charge to receive any of them:

FlyersRights is a nonprofit organization that depends on contributions from people like you!

Help us make air travel a better experience, or simply show your gratitude for whatever value you find in our work by making a tax-deductible donation:
Comments? Complaints? Send to the newsletter editor: 
Kendall Creighton:
Twitter: @KendallFlyers

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

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Seats Of Discontent

July 6, 2015

FlyersRights commissioned independent aviation safety journalist, Gary Stoller, to write about aircraft seating.

May be republished with permission - call 800-662-1859 for more information

Frequent business traveler David Hall says uncomfortable airplane seats have "dramatically degraded
" the travel experience.
Foretelling the future

"The seats and their spacing allow for people to sit, not comfortably, shoulder to shoulder, elbow to elbow, and the seat padding is either too worn on older planes or too thin on new ones,"says Hall, an engineer in Edmond, Okla., who installs medical systems. 

"I am tired of leaning away from people who spread out as much as possible, and my back aches from these trips."

Hall is one of many airline passengers complaining that airlines have jammed too many seats into planes to maximize profits, and lack of seat and leg room is irritating, unhealthy and unsafe. "I cannot imagine the chaos an emergency evacuation would cause in these cramped quarters,"he says.

Concerned about passengers'well-being, the consumer-advocacy group,, will this month file a petition with the Federal Aviation Administration calling for various pro-passenger measures, including establishing standards to improve seating conditions. says cramped conditions in aircraft cabins promote passenger discomfort, could cause deep-vein thrombosis and can endanger a safe emergency evacuation.

The FAA has no regulations for seat size or pitch (pitch is the space from one point on a seat to the same point on the seat in front). The agency says it does not regulate comfort, the risk of deep-vein thrombosis is "very low" and seats' size and pitch do not hinder emergency evacuations.

The width and pitch of seats varies by airline and by aircraft type. An extra inch or two in width or pitch can make a substantial difference in comfort.

According to the SeatGuru website, the pitch of coach seats on American Airlines jets, for example, varies from 31 inches to 37 inches, and the seat width varies from 17 inches to 18.5 inches.  On Delta Air Lines planes, the seat pitch varies from 30 inches to 35 inches, and the seat width varies from 17.2 inches to 18.5 inches. The smallest pitch is 28 inches on some Airbus jets of budget carrier Spirit Airlines. President Paul Hudson says congressmen and aviation policymakers in the White House should fly in the middle seat of coach-class rows until "humane seat and space standards are set, and there is a freeze on further shrinkage. 

"We call on members of Congress to take a middle-seat pledge and reject airline perks-including first-class or biz-class seating-till action is taken,"says Hudson, who is also a member of the FAA's Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee. "The public needs to know how their reps vote with their tushes and who is in bed with the airline lobby."

Airlines For America, the trade group representing U.S. airlines, sees no reason for government action.

"Airlines are spending more than $1.2 billion a month reinvesting in the customer experience,"providing "new planes, in-flight entertainment, chef-inspired meals, larger overhead bins and more,"says Melanie Hinton, the group's spokeswoman. 

"Given the variety of service options airlines offer the traveling public, we don't see the need for government intervention. We believe the market is working, and each airline should continue to determine which products and service offerings best meet the needs of its customers."

Many airlines charge extra for roomy coach-class seats. Delta Air Lines, for example, charges more for its "comfort-plus seats,"which provide, the airline says, up to three additional inches of legroom on domestic flights.

Hinton says Southwest Airlines recently added extra room to its coach seating; United Airlines will add new planes on its regional routes "that come with wider seats and aisles than other regional aircraft," and Hawaiian Airlines installed "slimline seats" for more legroom on some jets.

Many customers, however, are fed up with the cramped conditions presented by most coach seats.

At a hearing of a Department of Transportation consumer advisory group in April, group member Charlie Leocha said the government establishes standards for dogs flying in a plane's cargo hold but not for passenger seats. Leocha called on the Transportation Department and the FAA to take action "for humane treatment of passengers."

Frequent business traveler Henry DeLozier, a partner in an international consulting firm, Global Golf Advisors, would like to be treated better.

"The progressive shrinking of seating space on aircraft is a disservice to passengers,"DeLozier says."Other than profitability for airlines, there is no justification."

In its petition calling on the FAA to establish seat standards, says airlines are "aggressively reducing seat and passenger space" on new and existing planes "to squeeze more revenue out by adding more seats, charging extra for what had previously been standard seat space, to the point that passengers are loudly complaining, and health and safety is threatened." says that, until standards are adopted, there should be "a moratorium on reductions in seat size, width, padding, pitch and aisle width."

Richard Rosichan says he almost got into a fistfight two years on a Spirit Airlines flight when a passenger reclined a seat into his knee.

"I dislike the crowding on virtually all coach sections of virtually all airlines these days, but my biggest gripe is people who recline their seats into my lap and make it impossible to use my tray,"says the retired 74-year-old flier who lives in Miami Beach, Fla.

Health and medical experts say a significant number of Americans are overweight or obese - another factor in many passengers'discomfort on planes. The CDC says more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, and a 2014 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that more than two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.
Frequent flier Jennie Otey, a skin care therapist in Atlanta, is not overweight and doesn't have a problem with seating conditions in coach.

"The seat spacing is fine for me,"she says. "However, I am 5-foot-4 and an average weight for my height."

Frequent traveler Tim Orris says he will not fly because of his size.

"I am 6-foot-5 and 360 pounds, and I refuse to pay for multiple seats or have my knees crushed so a 12-year-old can recline a seat six inches,"says Orris, a booking agent for a circus company. "Seating space seems to be designed for jockeys. I either drive or find a private aircraft that will let me ride along."

Frequent business flier John Bell is not overweight but is also disgusted with the cramped seating conditions.

"As a flier who racks up 100,000 miles a year, I can tell you with authority that seating space is disgraceful,"says the senior vice president for a software company in Virginia.  "In coach, I can't even open my laptop if the guy in front leans back.

"You can't stretch your legs anymore or turn in your seat to take a nap, Bell says. "God help us if we have to get out of those torture devices in an emergency. Passengers, airlines and the FAA must be concerned that current seating configurations make aircraft essentially inescapable with limited time."

 FAA spokesman Les Dorr says "the critical factor" in an emergency evacuation is "the time required for people to pass through the emergency exits, rather than the time they need to leave their seats and reach the exits."

Dorr says numerous evacuation demonstrations and "actual emergencies "have shown that "providing more space between seats would mean, at best, that passengers would spend more time at the emergency exits waiting their turn to egress. 

"While passengers may find the typical seat pitches of today to be less comfortable, they do not pose a safety issue, "he says.

Regardless of seating configuration, the FAA requires aircraft manufacturers to show that all passengers aboard a passenger jet can be evacuated in 90 seconds.

In its petition to the FAA, maintains that "narrow aisle widths make timely emergency evacuation difficult."

Frequent business traveler Phil Bush says lack of seating space is definitely a health concern on long flights.

"You need to be up and moving about a little on any flights over a few hours,"says the Atlanta-based sales enablement consultant who has flown on about 50 flights this year. "If not, you are subject to issues with blood clots."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "prolonged cramped sitting during long-distance travel" interferes with blood flow in the legs. This can lead to deep-vein thrombosis - blood clots that could be life-threatening. Risk of deep-vein thrombosis increases with height, "possibly because taller passengers have less leg room, "the CDC says.

The World Health Organization says the risk of deep-vein thrombosis increases two to three times after long-haul flights and other modes of travel involving "prolonged seated immobility."On average, one of every 6,000 passengers will "suffer from "deep-vein thrombosis after a long-distance flight, the WHO says.

In most cases of deep-vein thrombosis, blood clots are small and do not cause any symptoms, according to the WHO. Larger clots, though, may cause swelling of the leg, tenderness, soreness and pain. Occasionally, the WHO says, a piece of a clot may break off and become lodged in the lungs, "causing chest pain, shortness of breath and, in severe cases, sudden death."

After consulting with the FAA's Federal Air Surgeon office, the FAA's  Dorr says "there is no evidence of a difference between the incidence" of deep-vein thrombosis "in passengers seated in a business-class seat versus those sitting in economy class."Business-class seats are often wider and have more leg room than coach seats.

Previous studies, Dorr says, have shown "immobilization is a significant risk factor in air travelers."Passengers on flights exceeding four hours-particularly those who are obese or use oral contraceptives - should move about to minimize the risk of deep-vein thrombosis, he says.  

John Steinberg, a doctor and a consultant who has flown on 58 flights this year, says seating space in coach is "bad and getting worse," and he has another health concern.

"We are now seated so close that catching communicable diseases is more likely, "says Steinberg of Randallstown, Md. "Catching drug-resistant tuberculosis can be life altering, and even a cold, though harmless, makes working on the road a lot more difficult."

Your Letters!
Re.The investigation into airline price price collusion,
All For One & All For Us

Dear FlyersRights:

As you clearly pointed out, the U.S. airline industry is acting in collusion to control fares and capacity. As a business flyer living in a non-hub city in Ohio, I have seen air service plummet and increase in price. Fares to some cities are double what they were 2 years ago, but even worse, it now takes 5-6 hours to travel to a city which used to be reachable in 1-2 hours. My time is no longer my time. It has been stolen by the U.S. airlines, and it is considered a free good.

Imagine if the following businesses were run like the airlines:

1. Auto industry. Your order is taken for a vehicle, and the auto company decides to give you something other than what you ordered because it was the best that they could do. Hey, we got you a vehicle didn't we?
2. Grocery. Only 6 loaves of bread are on the shelf for sale, so the price is higher just because.
3. Retail. If you want to buy anything on short notice, the price will be higher. And the price will always be higher on a holiday weekend. And if you need to exchange an item, there will be a mandatory change fee.

Dear FlyersRights:

Congratulations!  I have been communicating with Sen. Blumenthal office on this matter.  It is shameful that what deregulation promised is now a hoax.  the airlines need to be regulated and subject to anti-trust regulations as are other industries.  Why not airlines?  Yes, foreign airlines need to be granted access to US skies and US Airlines need to have access abroad.  Competition will improve traveling for all.

Dear FlyersRights:

Precisely right!  Just like the insurance industry - but they are legally sanctioned to fix prices, conspire to fix prices and carry on legal collusion. The airline industry simply buys the lawma
kers (sic) and does the same thing!  Good article.  Screw the people that claim FR is a "naderite"!

Dear FlyersRights:

Kendall, I'm not surprised at the admission of capacity discipline. I subscribe to Business Travel News and the CEOs have been transparent about this.  -B.

Dear FlyersRights:

1. Thank you for the work that you all do.  You're an invaluable resource for airline passengers.
2. This article  makes me sick.  Please keep up the fight against such behaviors.
Thanks again,

Dear FlyersRights:

A free press exists so that citizens know the truth and can vote their conscience..    But, instead of being big government watchdogs, the liberal media are big government lap dogs. They wield their power to influence voters, not inform them!!

Lies . . . Distortions . . . character assassinations . . . blatant censorship . . . these are the tactics that the liberal media use to sway public opinion (and steal!) elections  !!!..YOU THE PEOPLE, MUST THINK FOR YOURSELF !!!
               OF THE WIND THAT BLOWS IT!!
                     LAST BREATH BLOWS BY IT !!!*          
101 AIRBORNE)   

RE: TSA Gets An F

Dear FlyersRights:

I am in the airport twice a week and the situation is horrifying and embarrassing. There should be more exposure of that "randomizer" which basically does nothing and lets god-knows-who to pass through expedited security.

More than half the TSA I see in Ft Lauderdale are not in any shape to apprehend anyone if they tried to do something.

Why is the govt. not hiring more ex military personnel to run this department. All these kids return and are unemployed, and this is the perfect job for so many well trained, respectful men and women who are experts at efficiency and coordination.

I will not even start to write anything about Spirit or Silver Airways, because I will be writing all day, and never stop!! But I am literally quitting my job in Orlando because I cannot keep trying to use either of those alleged airlines any longer.

You are doing a great service! Keep it up!!!


Dear FlyersRights:

The regular person needs someone that represents them, and understands them to be at all DOT meetings and this would be FlyersRights for me.

Not only do I believe that the TSA is inefficient and ineffective I have found them incompetent. I had a brand new blouse bought on vacation removed from my luggage at Logan International Airport. Upon contacting my airline I was informed that it was the TSA and it happens all the time. What? "Well they go through so many pieces of luggage at a time they forget who's they got what out of so they just put them in the next suitcase. My guess is so there is no prof of their sloppy inaccuracies. 

Yet weapons are still getting through.

Do away with the lot and get a few dogs and put some of our returning veterans to work. I believe they would understand the perimeters and scope of their duty.

Dear FlyersRights:

Last Wednesday I left my house in Florida at 4:30 a.m. for the Palm Beach airport. We got on the plane and it left the gate about ten minutes late at 7:10 a.m. We pushed back to be told by the pilot ten minutes later that the left engine would not start and were being towed back to the gate. They gave the most stupid excuse that there was humidity in the engine because it had sat over night, do you believe this? We were also told that we could not leave the aircraft as we may not be allowed back on again. Then he apologized for the delay telling us that there were no mechanics in Palm Beach and we had to wait for them to arrive.

We took off three hours later after never leaving the plane, consequently, many of us missed connections, including me. I was to fly to Boston and the next flight they could get me on was two and a half hours after landing in Newark. This turned into more than six hours as the crew apparently were on a rest period and when they eventually showed up we were told that the pilot had come in from Columbia and was stuck in customs. We eventually took off more than seven hours after my arrival from Palm Beach and not once did anyone come near us, no explanation, no meal vouchers and most definitely no apology.

I am a more than million miler with this airline and when I went to customer service I was rudely spoken too that there was only one line, nothing for the Elites and I walked away. Those people in customer service at Newark are not qualified to work as prison guards.

I despise United, I despise Smi'suck' and they now have the worse staff of any American airline flying today. I could say no more than I am totally horrified by our treatment and totally disgusted at what was once a good airline. Now it is definitely at the bottom of the barrel with the sediment and scum.

Regards and thank you for the great job you guys are doing.

Dear FlyerRights:

Long time fan. But you lost me with wanting Mideast airlines in our market place. I suggest a 180.
We would be better off with Korean and other Asian airlines in our market for obvious reasons.
Dear FlyersRights:

Last week coming into Denver on Southwest in the middle of a sizable and severe thunderstorm, we made two aborted landings and werel finally diverted to Colorado Springs.  There as we refueled on the tarmac, I asked the pilot if those of us who wanted to could get off and get home on our own.  He said he would check.

Minutes later he said yes and that he would get us stairs.  But after some more minutes he announced that TSA had just told him that either everyone or no one could get off, not simply some of the passengers, "for security reasons."

The pilot said it didn't make sense to him.  It didn't make sense to me either.  What do you know about this rule?  Is it really a rule or just a quick decision by local TSA agents?

Thanks for all you and FR do.
Dear C.S. 
Never heard of it but who knows about TSA.  I really doubt that is a rule and she might write TSA at and see what they say.
Please let us know when you receive an answer and what they tell you. 

Joel J Smiler DVM
Hotline Director

(Or it may be something to do with checked baggage being left on the plane after the passenger gets off. - Dan Prall, FlyersRights volunteer)

Dear FlyersRights:
I've been a member of Flyers Rights almost from the beginning (I think...).  Thank you for all your hard work and results the group has achieved!

Lately I subscribed to "Elliott's Forum"...a place to air customer relations issues...and the posts regarding American Airlines have me frightened about future flights with them.  My wife and I have a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Holy Land this fall and I fear we'll get mistreated.  Below is the latest post on the forum.  The horror stories are almost endless...
I've always flown with AA (and used Hilton hotels) when traveling and have almost 2 million miles with AA, but this has me concerned


Dear M.H. 
I would say no better or worse than other airlines, in fact less of a chance of problems than with United or Spirit (the two most complained about).  If they cannot take the chance of encountering a problem they probably should not fly.  Perhaps they should consider flying on El Al.  We have never had a complaint about them at all. 

Plus I would have a problem with the complaint cited in Elliott's Forum.  I would be really surprised if any airline gate agent would tell a pax that the flight was cancelled for not enough passengers.  Even if it was true, which I doubt because they need the equipment at the other end, I really doubt they would admit it.  

Just my 2 cents FYI.

Joel J Smiler DVM
Hotline Director

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