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FlyersRights Urges DOT To Stop Keeping Passengers In The Dark & Clearly Define Their Rights

Tuesday, June 9, 2015
The airline counter agent’s worst nightmare is announcing, “your flight has been canceled” or “your luggage will not arrive until tomorrow” to a planeload of Flyersrights members.
But the average passenger does not know the rules and is not used to dealing with the vague gibberish on the US Department of Transportation’s website that is supposed to clearly define their rights. 
When problems arise, the rules do not come from consumer-friendly state laws. Rather, they are dictated by international treaties, federal statutes and other regulations.
A Long-Simmering Malfeasance by DOT
FlyersRighs has made multiple informal requests since 2013 to the DOT to update the language on the “Fly Rights” section of their website and to accurately state the law regarding delay compensation for airline passengers, which has been clearly defined in the EU for international air travel for over a decade.
To date, DOT has acknowledged receiving our requests, but no action has been taken to fix the longstanding hazy instructions being served to the traveling public.
Consumer advocate and journalist Christopher Elliott says, “I often recommend the Fly Rights brochure, but there’s always been an understanding that it’s a vague outline of your rights. It’s time that the information published by the government get more specific and more useful, so that passengers don’t have to fumble around to get more information or do their own research.”
He continues, “When you think about how much information airlines have about us and our spending habits, it only seems fair that we know a little bit about them, and specifically, our rights when we fly.”
A Fundamental Conflict of Interest?

 Going back to the 1978 deregulation act, airline attorneys have been successful in using vague and ambiguous language to claim exemptions from passenger abuse.  
The FAA has long been accused of  being too cozy with the airlines. The agency is often cited as an example of “regulatory capture” – in which the airlines openly dictate to its regulators its governing rules, and arranging for beneficial regulation.
During the Bush administration, the FAA actually called the airlines their ‘customers‘ and adopted a business model for evaluating its performance. The new term is “stakeholder.”
Nowadays, we even have airline lobbyists ‘inbedded‘ with Transportation Department chairmen.
Clearly There Is Vast Rot In The Ranks Of The Public Service Sector Of DOT
Insulation from state consumer protection laws, inefficient enforcement of federal law, and Congress’s unwillingness to pass our Passenger Rights 2.0 Bill has allowed air carriers to stiff passengers without repercussions.
Of all the problems facing government, the greatest is the need to rebuild a competent, effective and honest public service. The horrific The horrific, not-too-distant experience involving the regulation of the financial, aviation and oil extraction sectors bears stark witness to this fact.
Nothing is more important than the moral and intellectual rebirth of the US public sector.
See our letter to DOT Secretary, Anthony Foxx:  Click here for the full text.

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Kendall Creighton:
Twitter: @KendallFlyers