Monday, May 27, 2013
Buy One, Get One Fee
It's Just Not Fare

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Flyers Are FEE-ling It:
 Frontier now charges penalties 

for booking through third-party sites

Nowadays it's becoming, buy one airline ticket, get a dozen fees. 
Last week's big news was airline fees hitting a record $6 billion in 2012, and has airline service become any better? No.

For months FlyersRights as been denouncing these baggage fees.

Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights proposes
a new truth in air travel
metric and the banning of ecessive baggage and change fees that amount to price gouging.

"The fee-for-everything technique allows airfares to be advertised as much lower than the overall cost," says Hudson. "Fees are also generally exempt from ticket taxes that fund air safety, air traffic control, aviation security, and airport improvements."

Airlines may have reached the point of "deceptive and unfair" pricing, and this could require the DOT to weigh in with new regulations.  Banks are required to disclose the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) in all loan advertising to prevent the use of deceptive gimmicks from concealing overall loan costs.  
Question: Should airlines should be required to disclose the Average Cost per Seat (ACS) in economy class in addition to the base air fare?  What do you think?  Post in the forum.

Sharp Questions Continue Re: Knives On Planes
The airlines have now weighed in against allowing knives in cabins. Flight attendants have held press conferences and leafleting events in Houston and Charlotte airports.  
They have also written to TSA Administrator Pistole asking for a special advisory committee with stakeholder representation to evaluate in closed sessions the internal and secret "risk-based study" that TSA claims justifies allowing knives back on airliners.

Boeing 787: If Its Broke, Fix It!     
A Quick Fix For Boeing's Battery Woes
As skepticism over the Boeing 787 battery fix grows, FlyersRights is pressuring Congress to investigate.
FlyersRights believes significant doubts remain about the use of lithium-ion batteries in the Dreamliner configuration, even after the many modifications Boeing is making.  The fact that there were two "battery events", in Boeing's terminology, in a little more than a week suggest their prior testing and certification process of the batteries was faulty.
The safety and reputation of US made commercial airliners could be at stake.  Congress needs to address this problem urgently before another 787 battery crisis erupts. 
U.S. post WWII domination of commercial airliner manufacturing cannot be taken for granted. It could easily be lost if the 787 Dreamliner is viewed as unsafe or if its battery problems persist and result in an air disaster. 
The public has little tolerance for mass disaster. Just ask Germany what happened to its commercial aviation industry after the Hindenburg dirigible disaster. Or ask the British what happened to theirs after the Comet jetliner crashes in the early1950s.

American Airlines

The airline has expanded a new boarding policy that allows passengers to board early if they carry no luggage for the overhead compartment.
Passengers carrying just a personal item such as a purse, backpack or computer bag that fits under the seat will board right after Group 1 premium passengers and before groups 2, 3 and 4.
Also, the airline said that it will let passengers check a carry-on bag at the gate at no charge. That means savvy travelers will be able to move up in the boarding order and avoid checked-bag fees - $25 for the first bag, $35 for a second - although they'll have to retrieve their bag at baggage claim after they land.
If it works according to plan, fewer people will be stuck behind the inevitable guy who takes too long to hoist his rolling bag into an overhead bin. 
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FlyersRights' Partnerships
  •  Flybag™ - the must-have TSA-compliant toiletry kit for the efficient traveler. Enter code: ISTILLFLY and you'll receive one dollar off AND another dollar will be donated to FlyersRights! Visit    
Final Word
Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights
Kate with FRO Logo
Kate Hanni, founding member
Founded by Kate Hanni in 2007, FlyersRightsis funded completely  through donations and our Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) charity, to which contributions are tax deductible.

Thank you for your continued support!   


Saturday, May 11, 2013



May 8, 2013

In January 2013, all Boeing 787 airliners were grounded due to overheating leading to fires and subsequent failure of lithium ion batteries used on this aircraft. 1 

On January 18th DOT Secretary Ray LaHood stated, “Those planes won’t fly until we’re 1,000% sure they are safe to fly.” 

On April 19th, while the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was still investigating the Boeing 787 battery fires, the FAA approved a Boeing proposed 787 battery fix, but indicated it was reviewing the three (3) hour distance from the nearest landing site that this aircraft is approved for. 2, the largest airline passenger organization calls on DOT Secretary LaHood and the FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to require Boeing 787 be limited to no more that two hour(s) (ETOPS 120) from the nearest emergency landing site, unless its lithium ion batteries are replaced with a failsafe electrical power system proven to meet current FAA safety standards or until this aircraft has proven itself with at least 24 months of trouble free service. This is the standard used by the Joint Aviation Authorities in the 1990s to even consider allowing twin engine aircraft to be certified to fly up 3 hours from the nearest airport. 3

Lithium ion batteries have a long history of overheating, catching fire, exploding, and spewing molten metal. The two batteries used on the Boeing are large, over 60 lbs. Should they overheat and catch fire they could easily bring down the airliner, especially if it was not within easy reach of an airport available for an emergency landing. Moreover, industry wide certification standards for lithium ion batteries that are permanently installed do not currently exist. See Exhibit 1.

According to independent experts, the proposed Boeing battery fix that has received preliminary approval by the FAA is wholly inadequate to ensure the safety of the traveling public. 

See Exhibit 2 (opinion of battery safety expert David Zuckerbrod)

Exhibit 3 (opinion of MIT materials professor Donald Sadoway

Exhibit 4 (comments of former DOT Inspector General Mary Schiavo).

These known dangers have led the FAA to impose severe restrictions and outright bans on the use and carrying of lithium batteries much smaller than the 787 batteries on US airliners. 4.

Smoke and fire in US airliners is not unusual and causes about 250 emergency landings per year, and has resulted in 100% fatal crashes in the recent past . 5

The Boeing 787 is different from other airliners in that it requires five times the electric power of the present Boeing 777 to operate, has only two instead of four engines, and uses a battery known for its volatility and overheating.

Without robust testing that has yet to be done and without operational experience this fix is unproven as safe and should result at most in limited re-certification of the 787 for use only within 120 minutes of emergency landing facilities. Two hours would allow the Boeing 787 to fly transatlantic, nearly all overland routes, and many Pacific routes but not over the North Pole or trans Pacific or south Atlantic routes over 1,000 miles from a landing site.

From the limited information available, the Boeing fix does not appear to include:

a) any battery cooling apparatus at least in the rear section of the plane,

b) temperature gauges to warn pilots and ground monitoring of battery overheating or trigger cooling of overheating batteries, See Exhibit 2, 3.

Moreover, contrary to the Boeing assertions, battery fires would not necessarily be prevented by its venting system, and Boeing does not even contend that battery failure would be prevented by its band aid fix involving a containment vessel and insulation between cells.

The steel case that it claims will suppress a fire weighs 150 pounds thereby largely negating a principal advantage for using the lighter but highly volatile over older but safer cadmium batteries. See Exhibit 2, Zuckerbrod

Finally, a review of the NTSB April forum and investigative hearing transcripts and podcasts indicates: 

a) the FAA has not done battery testing of the 787 battery at its tech center, but only on commonly shipped batteries in air cargo.

b) the FAA gave Boeing an extremely broad, if not unprecedented, Delegation of Authority (DOA) for the design, testing protocols, actual testing for the 787 battery certification without direct FAA supervision. Such broad based self regulation is problematic.

It raises a host of conflict of interest questions, possible self dealing and exposes the Boeing employees charged with testing and approving their employer’s products for safety to undue pressures.

It is particularly dangerous here given the known dangers of lithium ion batteries combined with the untested use of such large batteries to control the fly-by-wire Boeing 787 with five times the power requirements of its predecessor, the Boeing 777.

In March 2013 we asked the FAA and DOT Secretary LaHood to empanel a special advisory committee with outside battery experts and representatives of passenger and flight crews to review the battery fixes and testing proposed by Boeing and the certification procedures used, but received only silence from the DOT and FAA. See Exhibit 6.

NTSB Chair Hersman did respond and noted that a forum was scheduled and an investigative hearing was to be held on April 23-24 regarding the latest battery fire on a Boeing 787. But no passenger representatives were invited for participation. The Boeing fix has not been vetted by the battery technical community or the industry associations that normally recommend safety testing standards to government safety agencies. Nor have many of the technical details of the Boeing fix been publicly disclosed.

Accordingly, the lifting of the Boeing 787 grounding order to permit flights up to 3 hours from the nearest landing site is both premature while the NTSB is still investigating the cause of the 787 battery fires and does not meet the Secretary’s statement that the grounding will not be lifted until the aircraft is shown to be “1,000% ” safe.

Rather, the FAA should:

a) empanel an ad hoc advisory committee composed of battery safety experts not affiliated with Boeing or the FAA, together with stakeholder representatives of passengers and flight crews (those directly at risk), in addition to Boeing, airlines and aviation liability insurance carriers to make recommendations.

b) open a docket for public comment and post the full technical details of the Boeing proposed battery fix.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been touted as a revolutionary 21st Century airliner with unmatched fuel efficiency, passenger comfort and the capacity to fly to nearly any destination on Earth nonstop. But to realize this potential Boeing must be required to meet or exceed modern aviation safety standards that it has thus far failed to do.


1. FAA Emergency Air Worthiness Directive issued Jan. 16, 2013 after 787 battery fires on ground at Boston, and in air Jan. 14, 2013 in Japan, making four battery failures in one year or 52,000 hrs of operation vs Boeing’s prediction of one failure every 10 million hrs. of operation; Several other batteries replaced showing evidence of battery overheating, Aviation Herald Feb. 6, 2013; Boeing 787 had 5 incidents in 5 days .


3.  ETOPS stands for extended operations for two engine aircraft; the Joint Aviation Authorities represent European civil aviation authorities. Normally, two engine aircraft must show trouble free service for 24 months before an application to fly over 2 hours from the nearest airport will be considered. Prior to the January 2013 grounding, the Boeing 787 had ETOPS 180 certification and Boeing has sought to increase this to ETOPS 330 (5 ½ hours from the nearest airport). See ETOPS, Wikipedia showing that the Joint Aviation Authorities vetoed a Boeing attempt to certify an earlier aircraft without operational experience.

4. Special conditions B787-8 airplane Lithium Ion battery installation FAA/Federal Register Oct. 11, 2007

5.  E.g. Swissair Flight 111 (1998, Halifax fire due to flammable material in entertainment system caused crash killing 229 on board; UPS Flight 6 (Sept. 3, 2010 smoke in cockpit from cargo of Lithium Ion batteries crashed killing 2 person crew near Dubai, FAA then banned lithium Ion batteries on passenger jets as cargo and warned than Halon fire extinguishers ineffective for lithium ion battery fires. Other recent examples include American Airlines Eagle Flight 3773 July 20, 2012 emergency landing Peoria Ill., United 777-222 Nov. 2012 emergency landing at Gander Newfoundland; private jet carrying Ann Romney emergency landing in Denver Sept. 21, 2012 due to electrical fire; Sunway Airlines Mar. 13, 2013 in Ottawa. See gen. GAO report www.gao/atext/d0433.txt Oct. 2003.

May 8, 2013

Paul Hudson

Member, FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (1997-present)

4411 Bee Ridge Rd. #274, Sarasota, Florida 34233
240-391- 1923 fax

Aviation Consumer Action Project (ACAP)

March 7, 2013

Michael Huerta
FAA Administrator
800 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20591
Deborah Hersman
NTSB Chairwoman
490 L'Enfant Plaza SW
Washington, DC 20594

RE: Regulatory responses to 787 Battery Fiasco and Introduction of Drones into US airspace

Dear Mr. Huerta and Ms Hersman:

I am writing to follow up on a suggestion I made this week at the meeting of the
Executive Committee of the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) that
your agencies reach out to the aviation community proactively to ensure that the
safety, security and economic vitality of US aviation is not compromised by the subject
two developments. Specifically, we propose that the FAA task ARAC and an ARC
consisting of non-industry stakeholders to advise the FAA and NTSB on what
rulemaking should be considered in these two areas with reports to be submitted
within six months.

At this point there are more questions than answers, but the DOT clearly needs to cast
a wide net to gather public as well as industry input as it develops new policies and
rules in these important areas.

Investigations by NTSB, the DOT Inspector General or Congressional committees as to
what went wrong in the FAA testing and certification program re the 787 are also
important and essential to prevent repeats.

Questions that need answers include: What went wrong in the testing of 787 batteries
prior to FAA approval that allowed this dangerously defective battery to be used? Did
self-inspection and testing by Boeing and its subcontractors play a role? What should
be done to remedy the inherent conflict of interest produced by manufacturer
employees being used as de facto US government safety inspectors?

The introduction of thousands drones into US airspace is biggest development in
aviation in this century. Civil aviation has been used by terrorists to kill thousands of
Americans and the introduction of drones on a large scale could pose a new hazard of
enormous proportions. The use of drones in US airspace is also highly controversial for
civil liberties as well as for safety, security and labor reasons. Yesterday, Senator
Rand Paul spoke on the Senate floor all day and evening on this subject. Time
Magazine ran a cover story last month, Rise of the Drones, and Congressional hearings
are certain to follow. Our enclosed comments of 3/4/13 sets forth some of the
broad policy and practical questions that need answers.

We look forward to working with you on these issues in a cooperative and productive
manner, and to your timely response to this tasking proposal.



4411 Bee Ridge Rd. #274
Sarasota, Florida 34233

Public Member, FAA Aviation Rulemaking
Advisory Committee, EXCOM
Cc Ray LaHood, DOT Secretary
Calvin Scovil, DOT Inspector General (fka the Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of
Rights) was founded in 2007 as non-profit corporation to advocate for the
rights and interests of airline passengers by Kate Hanni after she was
stranded on the tarmac for many hours with 10,000 others. It organized a
coalition that successfully advocated for the adoption of the 3 Hour Rule
adopted by the DOT in 2009 that prohibits airlines from confining
passengers on the tarmac for extended periods without returning to the
terminal. In 2012, a passenger rights section it supported was included in
the FAA Reauthorization Act that encouraged the DOT to issue further
aviation consumer protections. With over 25,000 member-supporters it is the
largest airline passenger organization in the U.S. It publishes a weekly
newsletter, maintains a free emergency telephone hotline 1-877-FL YERS-6
to assist airline passengers and an anonymous tips hotline. It relies on
individual donations and receives no funding from government or the airline

The Aviation Consumer Action Project (ACAP) was founded in 1971 as a
501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation to act a voice for air travelers on national
aviation issues, especially safety and airline passenger consumer rights. It
is funded by contributions from individuals and foundation grants. It
receives no funding and has no business relationships with the airline
industry or any government agency.

ACAP has been a principal advocate for truth in scheduling, lost baggage
and bumping compensation, medical kits on airliners, realistic emergency
evacuation testing, passenger cabin air standards, smoking ban, and airline
competition. It organized a coalition after 9/11 to advocate for the
establishment of the TSA and much stronger aviation security.

Its activities include public education, publication of consumer guides and
research reports, serving on national advisory committees (FAA Aviation
Rulemaking Advisory Committee, F AA/TSA Aviation Security Advisory
Committee, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning
Engineers (ASHRAE) Committee on Aviation Cabin Air Quality),
representation of aviation consumer and the public interest in rulemaking
and litigation activities, testifying before legislative bodies and national and
international commissions.

Paul Hudson has been executive director of ACAP since 1997 and president since 2012. He is a New York attorney who has
advocated for airline passenger rights and interests in the Courts, before
Congress, the Executive Branch and in the general and professional media
since 1989.

May 10, 2013

CONTACT: Paul Hudson
410-940-8934 or

Airline Passenger and Safety Groups Seek to Clip Boeing 787 Wings

WASHINGTON, DC -- Challenging the safety of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, two air- passenger advocacy groups are demanding the U.S. government limit flights on the controversial new jet until the safety of its lithium-ion batteries is proven. and the Aviation Consumer Action Project are petitioning the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) for a two hour limit from the nearest airport for the safety of passengers and crew.

The Boeing 787, an advanced technology twin engine airliner made of light weight composite materials with a range of over 9,000 miles, was certified to fly up to 3 hours from the nearest airport in 2011 by the FAA, based on Boeing testing and safety assurances. But the FAA grounded the entire 787 fleet in January 2013 after a battery fire on one 787 and smoke on another.

"Our proposed actions are both urgent and necessary," said attorney Paul Hudson, leader of both organizations and a prominent aviation-safety advocate for 25 years.

"The 787 lithium ion batteries have a long history of overheating, catching fire, even exploding. This could easily bring down an airliner, especially if it was not within easy reach of an airport for an emergency landing,” Hudson said. “Such batteries have been labeled as hazardous by the FAA and banned from being carried as cargo on most passenger jets. In one year of operations of 52,000 hours there have been several 787 battery failures versus one for every 10 million hours of predicted by Boeing. Adequate testing of the batteries haven’t been done and the fire investigation is not finished,” he added.

With over 25,000 members nationwide, is the nation’s largest non-profit airline passenger organization, which pushed for and won a federal rule limiting tarmac flight delays to 3 hours. The Aviation Consumer Action Project has advocated for air safety, security and consumer rights for over 40 years.
The advocacy groups’ formal petition is backed up by testimony from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, a prominent battery-safety consultant and former DOT Inspector General Mary Schiavo.

Limiting the 787 to flights within two hours of the nearest airport would ban 787 trans-
Pacific flights, flights over the North Pole. Flights between the US and Europe over the
north Atlantic and flights over land would not be affected by a two-hour limit.

The FAA grounded the American 787 fleet after two 787 battery incidents in January. A
fire erupted in a lithium-ion battery on a Japan Airlines 787 at Boston's Logan
International Airport. Days later, another 787 battery incident forced an emergency
landing in Japan by an All Nippon Airways 787. After the FAA's grounding order, other
countries where the 787 is in use followed suit.

Although US investigators still don't know what caused the batteries to overheat, the
FAA has approved a proposed Boeing fix that the manufacturer claims would stop any
fires that started. United Airlines, the only US carrier with 787s in its fleet, is scheduled
to resume 787 flights on May 20. Foreign airlines will resume their 787 flights soon.
On January 18th, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood emphatically stated, “Those planes won’t
fly until we’re 1,000% sure they are safe to fly.”

“Four months is a very short time to be ‘1,000 percent’ sure about anything -- much
less a highly complex lithium-ion battery that’s known to be prone to fire on board an
aircraft carrying over 200 passengers and crew. It would be a shame for Secretary
LaHood to culminate his many years of service with a reckless and hasty
decision like this,” says’s Hudson.

May 8, 2013

Hon. Michael Huerta
FAA Administrator
800 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20591

Hon. Ray LaHood
Secretary of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20590

Dear Secretary LaHood and Administrator Huerta:

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. Section 46109 and 5 U.S.C. Section 553, 554,, the Aviation Consumer Action Project and the undersigned hereby petition the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation to permit them to be named as intervener parties in the proceedings concerning any relief from the FAA grounding order of the Boeing 787 of January 2013 due to battery failures and fires, and for any related proceedings dealing with the ETOPS certification of this airliner. We also are requesting that an ad hoc advisory committee be appointed of independent battery experts and that a docket be opened to allow public comment on the battery fix proposed by Boeing to resolve the high failure rate and fires in its 787 Dreamliner airliner. is the largest non-profit airline passenger organization with over 25,000 member supporters, many of whom are frequent fliers who would be directly affected as passengers by the safety or lack thereof of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It advocates for the rights and interests of airline passengers, publishes a weekly online newsletter and operates an emergency telephone hotline for airline passengers and a confidential tips hotline. It was founded in 2007 by Kate Hanni after she was stranded on the tarmac with 10,000 others by American Airlines for many hours and ultimately led to the adoption of the 3 hour rule by the DOT and passenger rights legislation contained in the 2012 FAA Reauthorization Act. It receives no funding from the airline industry.

The Aviation Consumer Action Project (ACAP) is a non-profit corporation founded in 1971 to act as a voice for air travelers on national aviation issues, especially safety and consumer rights. It has been a principal advocate for truth in scheduling, lost baggage and bumping compensation, medical kits on airliners, realistic emergency evacuation testing, smoking ban, airline competition, and strengthening of aviation security. Its activities include public education, publication of consumer guides and research reports, testimony before legislative committees, and serving on national advisory committees (FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (1997-present, FAA/TSA Aviation Security Advisory Committee (1997-2007), ASHRAE Committee on Cabin Air Quality), representation of aviation consumer interests in rulemaking comments and litigation.

I am president of the since 2012 and have been executive director of ACAP since 1997, am a frequent air traveler. As an attorney I have concentrated on representing airline passenger interests for over 20 years.

As set forth in the enclosed memorandum with exhibits containing expert opinions, the FAA and DOT should limit any relief from the grounding of the Boeing 787 due of battery failures and fires to at most flying within 2 hours of the nearest airport, pending comprehensive testing of its proposed battery fix and a period of at least 24 months of trouble free operations. This position is supported by substantial independent expert opinion, prior experience with the lithium ion batteries and prior certification decisions and precedents by US and other regulatory authorities.

Our proposed actions are both urgent and necessary considering the large financial and reputational stakes for Boeing and the US aviation industry, the serious public hazard posed by 787 battery failures, the extraordinary delegations of authority granted to Boeing by the FAA to test and certify its 787 batteries and the lack of robust testing or safe operation experience with the 787 lithium ion batteries.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and for your full and careful consideration of this petition.


Paul S. Hudson

Cc: Susan Kurland, Assistant DOT Secretary for Aviation
Hon. Deborah Hersman, Chairwoman, NTSB
Calvin Scovil, DOT Inspector General
Boeing Corporation

Mailing Address: 4411 Bee Ridge Rd. #274, Sarasota, Florida 34233
Phone: 410-940-8934 800-662-1859
Fax: 240-391-1923
Up, Up and Away 
Airline fees: Average True Ticket Price Up Nearly 30 Percent

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Baggage fees brought U.S. airlines in 2011 a total of $3.4 bill
The average true price of a one-way ticket has increased by nearly 30% since 2008, according to a study by Boyd Group International. The data also notes that a "low cost" carrier at an airport does little to lower overall fares.
The average one-way fare, including federal fees and taxes, increased to $219.50 in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 12.5% from 2008. However, the real cost is up 29.1%, due to airlines charging for commonly-used and previously-free services. 

So consider your airfare as just the down-payment.  The ancillary fees for bag checking, early boarding, 'preferred' seating, etc., adds approximately 15% on average to the base fare of a one-way trip. 
Last week, Frontier Airlines became the latest airline to add new fees, saying that it will charge customers who did not book directly through its website for carry-on bags and drinks.

Some airlines gouge passengers before they even step foot on a plane. 

Virgin America, for instance, will charge flyers $20 for a mailed copy of their itineraries. Spirit charges $10 for boarding passes printed by an airport agent.

"Clearly this is an attempt to raise air fares under the search engine radar," said Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights. "Such deceptively priced "low air fares" need to be published with these extraordinary  baggage and drink fees included, due to the fact that the vast majority of passengers have either carry on or checked baggage and need hydration.  At the very least, Frontier and Spirit Airlines no baggage fares should be published with an asterisk * next to  them."

"A bare & dry air fare may not be the end," Hudson continued.  "Other rumored airline fee gimmicks include pay toilets, stand up seating, passenger weight premiums and the still undercover all nude & fresh air specials!"  

Seriously, FlyersRights may have to request rulings by the DOT.  The question is when do "extra" fees reach the point that they intrude on core air travel services, amount to unlawful "deceptive or unfair" marketing and pricing practices or are even unsafe.   

What do you think?  Email us at

Cut It Out 
Photo by Paul Hudson, who spoke at the Flight Attendants press conference and rally at DCA, April 24, 2013.
A lawsuit was filed Monday by The Association of Flight Attendants, FlyersRights, and seven other aviation associations to fight against TSA's plans to allow knives in the passenger cabins.
The coalition also includes flight attendants, gate agents, pilots, law enforcement and passengers. 
The 9/11 Commission Report noted that the Al Qaeda hijackers used knives to kill several flight attendants and the pilots on all four hijacked flights, that were then used to kill nearly 3,000 by destroying the World Trade Center and damaging the Pentagon. The FAA in 2001 did not prohibit knives with blades under four inches because a) they did not consider them dangerous, b) some local laws permitted carrying knives, and c) they were hard to detect so banning them could slow down security screening, 
Others have suggested that allowing knives will raise the consistently poor performance test scores of screeners and thereby make the TSA look better. The 9/11 hijackers were also reported to have trained killing sheep with pocket knives and were well aware of the lax FAA policies on permitting small knives.
Read more at:
Ernest Emerson, the maker of tactical knives popular with military and law enforcement, is rumored to be modifying his Hummingbird blade to be TSA-compliant. Emerson advertises this knife as the one you'd want if you get the call, "Let's roll".
The petition makes five critical points:
-- Permitting knives in the cabin is an unnecessary risk to the traveling public and violates the Administrator's duty as set out by Congress. A TSA-approved knife could be used to stab or kill a passenger, crew member, federal air marshal or TSA Security Officer by a terrorist, mentally ill person or drug or alcohol-impaired passenger. A TSA-approved knife could be used to hijack a plane.
-- It would be irresponsible to relax the TSA's existing policy on knives when virtually every organization representing those directly affected by the change adamantly oppose it on safety and security grounds.
-- Federal regulations currently ban all weapons on airplanes and in airport secure areas, and a knife is a weapon.
-- TSA's argument for the change is false. TSA says the change would bring the US in line with the international standard for knives. There is no international standard for knives: Canada, Israel and Taiwan - to name a few - ban knives on planes.
-- One of the nation's foremost experts on knives provides testimony stating TSA training and procedures will not allow officers to detect locking blades without direct examination. This means security lines would slow and officers at airport checkpoints would be distracted from searching for firearms and explosives.
The organizations signing the petition are:
  • The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (flight attendants at 20 airlines, including United and US Airways)
  • The American Federation of Government Employees (TSA Security Officers)
  • The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (American Airlines flight attendants)
  • The Allied Pilots Association (American Airlines pilots)
  • The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (federal Air Marshals) 
  • (largest airline passenger organization)
  • The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (largest aviation union, including flight attendants and gate agents)
  • The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (thousands of aviation workers including flight attendants at Republic)
  • The Transport Workers Union (thousands of aviation workers including Southwest flight attendants)
The Petition was supported by expert testimony from:
John Bonner - Assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Served with the FBI including providing counterterrorism training to the Iraqi police and military in Baghdad and Fallujah, Iraq. His long list of security credentials includes Instructor at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., certified as a Law Enforcement Officer by the State of Florida, and participation in FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Bernard Levine - Recognized as one of the world's leading knife experts with more than four decades of experience. His books include four editions of the standard reference work in the field of knives and knife identification, as well as Pocketknives, a Collector's Guide and Identifying Pocketknives. His business website is
Jon Adler - President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officer Assoication, a decorated officer, certified tactcal instructor, and an executive board member of the DHS Federal Law Enforcement Advisory Board.  He was also a first responder at Ground Zero on 9/11.
Paul Hudson - Current President of, an aviation attorney and a member of the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee.  Paul was also on the FAA/TSA Aviation Security Advisory Committees and the President of Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie as well as several other public policy committees and a published author on passenger aviation security.

FlyersRights' Partnerships
  • Flybag™ - the must-have TSA-compliant toiletry kit for the efficient traveler. Enter code: ISTILLFLY and you'll receive one dollar off AND another dollar will be donated to FlyersRightsVisit    
Final Word!
Paul Hudson, FlyersRights President
Kate with FRO Logo
Kate Hanni, Founding Member, FlyersRights
Founded by Kate Hanni in 2007, FlyersRights is funded completely through donations and our Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) charity, to which contributions are tax deductible.
Thank you for your continued support!
Let There Be Flight
Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Flights returned to normal this week after public anger hit such a fervor that Congress overwhelmingly approved legislation Friday to allow the FAA to withdraw the furloughs.

"Furloughs ended swiftly within one week," said Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights. "Congress contemplated facing angry constituents while being delayed and stranded in airports as they commute weekly to and from their home districts."

"Unfortunately, the furlough fix robbed Peter (airport maintenance and improvement accounts) to pay Paul (air traffic controllers)," he said.

No comprehensive resolution is in sight to the other aspects of the long-running federal budget dispute. Expect other sequestration cuts to continue into FY 2014.
Backlash in action, folks. From your frustrated tears to government's ears!

IATA's Resolution 787: How it Will Change the Way Airline Reservations are Made
Frequent Fliers, Prepare to Pay More 
An airline trade association has quietly submitted for approval to the DOT a new anti-competitive and anti-consumer ticket pricing system.

Unless blocked this proposal could end the era of transparent airline ticket pricing and make consumer ability to compare ticket prices on websites a thing of the past.

A new entity known as the Passenger Distribution Management Group would quote all airfares, instead of individual airlines, and require consumers to provide personal information before fares are quoted that "includes but is not limited to" the customer's name, age, marital status, nationality, contact details, frequent flyer numbers (on all carriers), prior shopping, purchase and travel history and whether the purpose of the trip is business or leisure.

Paul Hudson, President of noted, "This outrageous plan is akin to consumers in a drug store having their wallets and bodies scanned in the checkout line to determine how wealthy and sick they are before being told how much their medicine will cost.  In the age of super computers, corporate entities can, without government regulation, demolish fixed pricing and make many essential consumer transactions a one sided, customized take it or leave it proposition where the consumer is at a complete disadvantage. The required consumer information would also be another assault on personal privacy, subject to all sorts of abuse." is calling on the U.S. Departments of Justice and Transportation to block this anti-consumer and anti-competitive pricing scheme by airlines, who are acting collectively under the supposed cover of their trade association. 

Boeing's Dreamliner, Still Dreaming On
NTSB press conference photo of burned battery from JAL 787
Boeing's spin machine seems to be going flat out to distract attention from the woes of the grounded 787 Dreamliner.
Its lithium-ion batteries have come under a harsh spotlight as a pair of battery-related fires have resulted in the grounding of fleets across the globe.

Yet while investigators said last week that they have not found any factory-level problems with the Japanese-built batteries, FlyersRights believes that there is a more fundamental issue in play.
"The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has had a close encounter with nightmare maker Freddy Krueger, as its batteries have spontaneously overheated and burned on several occasions." said Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights.

The FAA on April 19th approved Boeing's band-aid fix to its fire prone lithium ion batteries so the 787 may fly again soon.  However, the FAA is reviewing its certification allowing it to fly up to 3 hours from the nearest airport.  Some outside experts still question the 787's safety to fly without a much safer battery pack.   
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood has said the Boeing 787 would not fly again until he was convinced it was "1,000 percent safe."  

Yet as long as they do not find the cause of these battery problems the 787 will not be 100% safe. 
FlyersRights, after consulting with a host of aviation safety and battery experts, will request the DOT/FAA delay allowing the 787 to fly trans-Pacific or over the North Pole until the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issues its findings and recommendations on the recent battery fire accidents that caused the 787 to be grounded since January.   
FlyersRights also strongly recommends a public comment period with a public hearing that includes outside experts (not just government and Boeing experts) before certifying the maximum range for the troubled twin-engine jetliner.

FlyersRights Says "No!" to Suspending Tarmac-Delay Rules

Last week we sounded the alarm, and you responded.
Hundreds of FlyersRights members filed comments with DOT regarding the brazen request by Airlines for America (A4A) and the Regional Airline Assn. (RAA) for temporary exemption to the 3-Hour Tarmac Delay rule.  
The official response from FlyersRights President, Paul Hudson was "No exemptions" in the strongest terms.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is
 currently reviewing the motion.

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Final Word 
Paul Hudson, President
Kate with FRO Logo
Kate Hanni, Founding Member

Founded by Kate Hanni in 2007, FlyersRights is funded completely through donations, and our Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) charity, to which contributions are tax deductible. Thank you for your continued support!