This week FlyersRights filed a brief in the US Supreme Court, in support of airline passenger rights and interests.
This is the second time we have filed anamici curiaeat the US Supreme Court in support of the passenger.
FlyersRights is asking the Court to reverse a Ninth Circuit Appeal Court ruling that refused to recognize filing a lawsuit in another country satisfies the two-year statute of limitations for claims against airlines on international trips.
In FlyersRights' previous filing inMacLean v. US Department of Homeland Security, the Supreme Court agreed with our position - that the Whistle Blower Protection Act does apply to the Dept. Of Homeland Security and protects Sky Marshals and TSA workers who notify the public of serious malfeasance or misdeeds affecting aviation security by the government.
See our Press Release:
Ninth Circuit Delivers Blow to Passenger Rights:
Appeal Filed with Supreme Court
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2016 - Washington, DC:
FlyersRights.org, the nation's largest airline passenger organization, has joined forces with an aggrieved airline passenger whose personal injury claim was denied by a Federal Appeals court.
In a hastily written and very short 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit struck a blow to passenger rights guaranteed by the Montreal Convention. There was, however, a very lengthy dissenting opinion.
FlyersRights and Travelers United have filed anamici curiae briefwith the Supreme Court after the passengers filed an appeal.
In Von Schoenebeck v. KLMa seat back collapsed on the head of a passenger, causing severe spinal injuries. The airline refused to compensate the passenger for the injuries, even up to the no fault or strict liability amount for personal injury found in the Montreal Convention. Instead, the airline sought a bond for its own attorney fees and costs from the passenger in the South African court. The airline suggested the passenger litigate in the United States, and when the passenger filed in California, the airline sought dismissal based on a novel interpretation of the 2-year statute of limitations.
The Ninth Circuit refused to recognize claims against airlines timely filed in other countries unless also filed in the United States. This is a shocking interpretation of the Montreal Convention, the treaty providing for airline passenger rights in international travel. The Montreal Convention was designed to achieve uniformity of rule governing causes of action against airlines. Unless reversed by the Supreme Court, airline passengers on international flights will have to file claims against airlines in multiple countries in order to preserve their rights.
FlyersRights also has an appeal pending in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the FAA's refusal toregulate seat sizeand leg room on airplanes.
Reps. Cohen and Kinzinger to Re-introduce Airplane SEAT Act Early Next Year
Nowadays, airline passengers pretty much assume that airline seats will shrink to nothing. Fortunately our friends on Capitol Hill, CongressmenSteve Cohen (D-TN) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) announced this week they're again introducing theSeat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Actinto Congress, in attempts to halt the sardine seat trend in the airline industry.
"As millions take to the skies this week for the holiday season, it is a reminder of our obligation to ensure air travel is safe for passengers," said Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) on Monday. He continued, "The time to examine the safety implications of smaller airplane seats is now, not after some future tragedy. Planes need to be capable of rapid evacuation in case of emergency, yet appropriate testing has not been conducted by the FAA on all of today's smaller seats. In addition, doctors have warned that deep vein thrombosis can afflict passengers who don't move their legs during longer flights. The safety and health of passengers must come first. That is why Congressman Kinzinger and I will be reintroducing the SEAT Act early next year during the new Congress.
"This time of year is a busy time of travel for people in Illinois and across the country, and it is critical that safety is our top priority."
This means bad news for Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington: Starting January 22, 2018, driver's licenses issued by these states will no longer be accepted at TSA checkpoints. They fail to meet the federal government's minimum security standards under the Real ID Act.
In order for states to pass the government's security standards, they must verify every ID applicant's identity, put anti-counterfeit technology in the production of the card and conduct background checks on those who issue driver's licenses.
So, travelers have to use another form of identification to pass through security for domestic flights- such as a military ID, permanent resident card, or passport.
First flight became reality 113 years ago
December 17, 1903the first flight took place - 113 years ago on a windswept beach at North Carolina's Outer Banks, the Wright brothers made the world's first powered, heavier-than-air flight. With Orville and Wilbur alternating as pilot, the plane made four flights that day.
The first airplane flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. The longest distance covered that day was 852 feet in 59 seconds - an average speed of 31 miles an hour.
In only a few decades, the airplane became a vital part of America's economy and defense, as well as a form of transportation relied upon by an increasing number of people.
Now, aircraft manufacturers in the U.S. do just over $123 billion of business annually.
It's worth remembering how far aviation has come," said Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights. "Aviation started with private funding, then was subsidized by taxpayers.
Hopefully, affordability, service and comfort in air travel going forward will improve along with technology. But the reverse [will happen] if based solely on for-profit, unregulated monopoly-seeking corporations.
Compare the agenda of Airlines for America, The International Air Transport Association and Boeing/Airbus with FlyersRights' agenda.
Airlines and airports seek to drive revenue per passenger ever higher, service ever lower, while FlyersRights is pressing for the opposite.
All passengers are funding the industry agenda involuntarily, but must fund the passenger-side voluntarily. By doing nothing, passengers are really helping the airline industry side and only you can change this by supporting the passenger side now.
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.