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Hall of Blame

February 2, 2017
Demonstrators crowd the international terminal as they protest against President Donald Trump’s travel ban on refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations, at San Francisco International Airport on Jan. 29, 2017.

AP Photo
The demonstrators blamed Trump, Trump blamed Delta, Delta blamed computers, conspirators blamed Russian hackers and ESPN’s Sage Steele blamed protesters.

Around and around it went last weekend, during airport  confusion and mayhem as travelers in-transit to the US were stopped in airports world-wide, affecting  many US passengers with connections. 

This just happened to coincide with Delta’s second ‘systems outage’ in under six months.
“I want to apologize to all of our customers who have been impacted by this frustrating situation,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “This type of disruption is not acceptable to the Delta family who prides itself on reliability and customer service. I also want to thank our employees who are working tirelessly to accommodate our customers.”

Boy, does that sound familiar.

But it was the widespread protests against President Trump’s executive order to suspend immigration from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen that raised the question: Will the US lose tourists who feel the US is not a desirable place to spend holidays at the moment?
There are no flights directly from the affected Muslim countries into the US. And  the US big three airlines have no flights to or from the seven countries outlined in the ban. Regardless,  Iran and Iraq  took steps  to bar Americans.
Now, the concern is a general “knock-on” effect – that international travelers could change or postpone their planned business or vacation plans to the US. 

For passengers with dual nationality, former residency or citizenship, US passports, Green Cards and valid visa holders, there are many uncertainties. 
Airlines are supposed to be able to answer questions and enforce policies, but many, it seems, don’t know what to do. 
Tips for international travel for non-US citizens to the US:  go to which has up to date information on visas or other requirements.
US passengers can no longer assume that their US passport will allow travel to nearly all countries without a visa, it is always best to check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are planning to visit.  After 9/11 some countries in retaliation for new restrictions imposed on their citizens to visit the US, added fees and visa requirements for US 
Your Letters:

Dear FlyersRights:

Due to the executive order by President Trump barring citizens from several countries from entering the USA for 90 days some legal questions have occurred.

One of them is: if it (legally binding) turns out that the executive order is an unlawful/illegal act, are there any claims for compensation possible? If yes: what kind of compensation would be possible (e.g. for the flight costs, for immaterial damage)? And against who will you file a lawsuit?

I hope that also your new administration will have a focus on delay compensation issues.

Best regards,

Felix Methmann
Policy Officer
Team mobility & travel
Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V.
Federation of German Consumer Organisations
Markgrafenstraße 66, 10969 Berlin

The Montreal Convention which covers claims for delay against passengers does not provide for compensation from governments.
The US government and other governments have sovereign immunity from civil suits unless there is a law which waives it. National security or immigration or visa regulations even if unfairly applied would not likely provide for a waiver.
That said if an airline were to provide misinformation to a passenger causing delay it might be liable for delay compensation IMO.  Also if a dual citizen or legal US resident was unlawfully or unconstitutionally detained they might have rights under US civil rights laws. Travel insurance might in some cases provide for delay compensation. is hoping to organize and host an international conference on  airline passenger rights in June or July in Washington DC. The objective  would be to train NGO representatives, government workers and attorneys who advise or represent travelers.  We are looking for expressions of interest, cosponsors, and speakers. 
Paul Hudson

In response to last week’s newsletter: No Overhead

Dear FlyersRights:

The airlines should charge to put “carry ons” in overhead bins and not charge extra  to “check” suitcases.  It is a nightmare getting on planes now as everyone is fighting for overhead bin space, plus it slows down boarding. On top of that,  I hate getting to my seat and finding that there is no bin space anywhere near my seat because someone has taken my real estate with all their stuff.  Many times people are carrying on more than one bag (no one stops them) and cramming up the bins. 
Airlines should charge one fee and allow a suitcase to be “booked” like it used to be.
D. L. Unger
Richmond, va

Dear FlyersRights:

I respectfully disagree with one statement in Mr. Hudson’s message. Denver International Airport, a completely new airport at the time it was built – not an overhaul or expansion, was opened Feb 28th, 1995.  As of 2015, Denver is the 6th busiest airport in the US and 18th busiest in the world. I would ask that he consider amending his statement.  

Brock B.

DIA was started in 1980 and took 15 years to
Build. The existing airport Stapleton was closed and plowed under
With a housing project constructed on the site,
So there could be no competition with the
New far away from town airport.
Paul Hudson

You should post a correction: President Trump is a builder, but only if it enriches himself. That vast majority of projects that bear his name got there by licensing, not building.

I have no illusions that this president will do anything for the public good.

Beverly B.

The FlyersRights® Insider
This week’s travel-related information tips and suggestions for our readers and members.

How to get through Customs by taking a selfie –

Things you should not eat on an airplane –

Why planes shouldn’t have free Wi-Fi –
Google’s New Pixel and Home Devices for Travel –
The above articles can be viewed by clicking on the link.  For more in-depth and up-to-date information on these items, please refer to the source.

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