Current federal law requires airlines to state the total fare, including taxes.
The "Transparent Airfares Act "? Wow - You Can't Make This Stuff Up!
The Transparent Airfares Act was one of those feats of Orwellian-like double-speak that would do the exact opposite of what it claims to do.
Introduced in March 2014, it went on to defeat, probably in part because it was obviously Orwellian even for Congress. In a nutshell, it makes comparison shopping for the best fare an exercise in futility.
Can you see the day when the average flight costs more in taxes and ancillary charges than it does in the actual fare? It is already possible to do that on some flights, given the array of fees that we pay along the way.
Here's a short list of 'problems' the airline lobbying group Airlines for America (A4A) would like to have changed:
Current law, which requires airlines to include taxes in the base advertised price, makes airfares appear artificially higher and less competitive
We need to reverse government actions legislation 'harming' the industry
Cut taxation and regulation that stifles the "free market" for U.S. airlines
Stop DOT thinking it needs to protect customers from airlines
Airline seats: Tight positions
Currently, the US Department of Transportation does not impose any standards for seat legroom, width or comfort.
It has been years since airlines have been required to conduct these tests, and back then, they used young, fit employees to conduct the tests.
Any aircraft that has subsequently reduced seat width or pitch, or has added seats per row, should be required to re-certify to the 90-second evacuation standard for that configuration, using volunteers from the general population, conforming to demographic standards, without prior training in aircraft evacuation, and with those tests supervised by the FAA.
With commercial airlines packing more passengers per plane, many fliers believe that the federal government should adopt minimum airline seat standards for legroom and width to ensure the safety, health and comfort of travelers.
That was the sentiment of more than 30,000 people who signed a FlyersRights petition that was sent to FAA chief, Michael Huerta.
It asks the FAA to put a moratorium on any further reduction in seat space and to appoint a panel to come up with minimum seat standards.
"The shrinkage of seats and passenger space by airlines to generate higher profits while the size of passengers has substantially increased has created an intolerable crisis situation," according to the petition. "It is threatening the health, safety and comfort of all passengers."
The airline industry is uncompromising on seat space, with an A4A spokeswoman insisting that, "the government should not regulate, but instead market forces, which reflect consumer decisions, and competition should determine what is offered."
What an amusing attitude for an industry with little competition, that spends millions of lobbying dollars to keep lawmakers in line with their objectives, that uses predatory pricing to force rivals out.
Last week Congress shot down an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization bill last week that would have mandated more legroom for passengers on airplanes.
Recently, FlyersRights wrote about the World Health Organization and other medical authorities "warning of higher risks of life threatening blood clots (DVT) caused by cramped seats, and lack of movement on flights over three hours. There are also societal concerns over reported increases in incidents of discord and unruly passenger disruptions due to overcrowding.
According to a recent Apex survey of air travelers, more legroom now has overwhelming public support.
Passengers are not powerless to stop the trend to smaller seats and overcrowded airplanes. They can insist the FAA act now to set standards, and they can have a say in what those standards will be.
We passengers don't willingly accept the discomfort of our present treatment by the airlines. The amount of discomfort imposed on us would be negotiable if we were viewed as an organized interest group.
everyone is a little nervous when the airliner we are flying in charges
down the runway or comes in for a less than perfect landing or has
turbulence, but statistics tell us that the chances of dying in an air
disaster are extremely low.
However, for frequent flyers especially, there are some more common and insidious risks.
Flyersrights.org has previously written about
blood clots caused by sitting in cramped conditions at high altitude on
long or frequent flights, that is aggravated by airlines shrinking seat
health concern for frequent flyers particularly is radiation. All
radiation is known to cumulatively increase one's risk of cancer.
higher altitudes, occupants are exposed to more cosmic rays, a high
energy radiation that is largely absorbed by the atmosphere. So one
cross country round trip, it turns out is equivalent radiation exposure
to a chest x-ray. Back scatter x-rays used by TSA at airports has also
had some experts concerned.
So what can be done to counteract this? Surprisingly the answer may be diet.
funded by the National Cancer Institute, studied what foods might
protect pilots who receive far more frequent radiation exposure than
findings: pilots who ate the most dietary antioxidants suffered the
least amount of DNA damage. However, not by taking supplements, which
actually increased damage.
consuming a mix of fruits and vegetables such as citrus, nuts, seeds,
pumpkins, and peppers did best. Also green leafy veggies like spinach,
ginger root were found to protect against radiation.
results were found in studies of other population groups exposed to
high amounts of radiation including survivors of the atomic bombs at
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, hospital
x-ray workers, and in Pentagon Cold War experiments.
The radiation protective foods may include herbs garlic, turmeric, goji berries,
mint leaves, oregano and especially tea from Lemon balm.
when taking those frequent long distance trips, take some kale chips
and wash it down with lemon balm tea; then dine on a green veggie salad
with herb dressing with fruit for dessert!
See Limaye MR, Severence H. Pandora's Boxes: questions unleased in airport scanner debate. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2011; 111(2):87-8, 119.
LC, et al, High Dietary antioxidants intakes are associated with
decreased chromosome translocation frequency in airline pilots. Am J
Clin Nutr. 2009; 90(5):1402-10.
W et al, Radiation exposure during air travel: Guidance provided by the
FAA for air carrier crews. Health Phys. 2000; 79(5):591-5.
Sauvaget C et al. Dietary factors and cancer mortality among atomic bomb survivers. Mutat Res. 2004:551(1-2):145-52.
EA et al. Dietary and clastogenic factors in children...contaminated by
Chernobyl accident. Arch Environ Health. 2001; 56(4):320-6.
Arora R, et al, Radioprotection by plant products, Phytother Res. 2005:19(1):1-22.
See Gen. Greger, Michael with Gene Stone, How Not To Die, Flatiron Books, 2015, p. 241-3
Seat Size Amendment Proposed, Then Shot Down
below video clip and press release shows last week's debate on a bill
to regulate seat size that was voted down by the House Transportation
It was a close vote, with both Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio in opposition.
even though Rep. Defazio spoke against the seat-space bill, he later
voted for it, together with all the other committee Democrats and one
This is the first FlyersRights passenger rights proposal to be introduced thus far.
a look at the Congressional voting list below to know who is against
even the most mild effort the rein in airlines' aggressive shrinkage of
Congressman Cohen Disappointed By Vote Against Safety of Airline Passengers
DC] - Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Aviation,
today offered his Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act (H.R. 4490) as an
amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization
bill at a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting. The
amendment, which would have required the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) to establish a minimum seat size and minimum
distance between rows of seats for the safety and health of passengers,
was defeated by a vote of 26-33.
am disappointed," said Congressman Cohen. "This was a vote against the
safety and health of airline passengers. The FAA requires that planes be
capable of rapid evacuation in case of emergency, yet they haven't
conducted emergency evacuation tests on all of today's smaller seats.
That's unacceptable. It's time for the FAA to take action. I will
continue to work with my colleagues to make sure the safety and health
of passengers comes before airline profits, and hope to have the
opportunity to offer this amendment again when the bill comes to the
floor of the House."
A video debate on Rep. Cohen's amendment at the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Cohen played a clip during his remarks of a television commercial that
aired during last week's Super Bowl broadcast to demonstrate the issue
of small seat sizes.
Get to know these members better - check out their webpage:
Will Passengers Win The Fight In A New FAA Reauthorization Bill?
February 10, 2016
Every few years, Congress is supposed to authorize legislation to set FAA funding levels and policy priorities (known as "reauthorization").
And that time is now.
The FAA Reauthorization bill is set to be marked up by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this Thursday, where additional amendments will be considered.
So far, the bill spends much of its 273 pages dealing with air traffic control reform. This is where, FlyersRights believes, the legislation offers nothing significant to help passengers and could potentially cause much harm.
"It's time to transfer management of Next Gen to NASA," said Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights.org. "The only US organization with the real expertise and track record in engineering civilian aerospace systems that work. Not to a new untested AMTRAK, controlled by airlines and other special interests."
New ATC technology is expensive so airlines don't want to pay for it - and unsurprisingly, neither do general aviation or corporate jet companies. So the the House FAA Bill would end up putting the burden on passengers, who will no doubt see new fees and taxes.
The United States ATC system is the best in the world, using radar and human controllers. The so-called NextGen system which uses GPS and computers has failed five attempts to introduce it, and has all been abandoned as a failure by the FAA.
Also, passenger representatives are excluded from a new Air-Traffic Control board that would be dominated by airline reps.
Despite all this, some important pro-passenger provisions has made it into the bill, thanks to coordination between passenger advocates and legislators.
A group of congressmembers, led by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) slipped in the Families Flying Together Act of 2015. This language would direct the Department of Transportation to establish a policy that a family be seated together during a flight.
Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) authored a provision that would allow passengers on domestic flights to recoup their checked baggage fees if the airline does not deliver their luggage in 24 hours.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) announced a Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act as an amendment to the bill, establishing minimum seat size standards for the safety and health of airline passengers.
And the Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) seeks to break up the US airline cartel, affirming that recent airline mergers have left us with only four large domestic carriers, which is bad for the marketplace.
Presidential and Congressional elections could have a significant influence on airline passenger rights and interests.
The time is approaching when it should be possible to see which candidates are best or least worst for air travelers.
One problem with all of them is they, as frequent air travelers, receive mega amounts of frequent flyer miles from the airlines; campaign contributions; and jobs and patronage from airports.
More than one nominally consumer friendly member of Congress has told FlyersRights that they are for passenger rights as long as they do not "offend the airlines"! Which of course eliminates 98% of passenger friendly proposals.
FlyersRights this week will file Freedom Of Information Act requests for frequent flyer miles granted to members of Congress.
We are also renewing our call for congress to fly in middle seats in coach class for at least 30 flights this year. This will enable them to get a better understanding of the plight of passengers and to get better acquainted with their constituents.
Candidates for president all fly in private jets and congressional leaders often use government planes. Sometimes they are accompanied by lobbyists and wealthy special interest reps.
Candidates who claim to want to represent the general public should give equal time and access to the public, instead of just wealthy special interests and their close supporters.
Looking at individual candidates, Donald Trump flies in private jets and helicopters, and has previously owned an airline. He also lost key personnel in an helicopter crash.
Senator Cruz hails from Texas where American and Southwest are located. He has no discernible record on air travel issues but generally favors less regulation.
Senator Rubio's staff has met several times with FlyersRights but has not supported any passenger rights legislation since 2012.
Senators Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have not been actively involved in air travel issues.
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.