Thursday, August 29, 2013
     No Kidding
Tuesday, August, 27, 2013

The airlines may be running out of things to charge and make extra revenue.    

Last week a budget Asian carrier revealed kid-free cabins.
Singapore's Scoot Airlines banned children under the age of 12 from sitting in its "quiet zone".

Passengers flying Scoot Airlines can be upgraded to the 41-seat "Scoot in Silence" cabin for $14, where children under 12 are banned.
The kid-free cabin has more legroom than the rear section of the aircraft, with a 35-inch seat pitch, four inches more than in economy class.
The budget fleet of Singapore Airlines is the latest carrier to introduce a child-free zone on planes. Back in February, Air Asia X started 'Quiet Zones' banning children. 
Last year, Malaysian Airlines banned infants from first-class on its Airbus A380 superjumbo aircrafts and Boeing 747s, explaining that passengers complained of crying babies.
Jeremy Clarkson, the Top Gear presenter, recently prompted a strong reaction from Twitter users after he said children should be stashed in the luggage hold during flights. 
A survey by the Telegraph newspaper last month reported that unruly children remain the biggest in-flight annoyance for the majority of travelers - ahead of drunken passengers, surly cabin crew and over-talkative neighbors.  Nearly 70% would support the introduction of kid-free flights. 
A third of respondents said they would pay more to sit in a kid-free zone, a quarter said they would pay up to $75 for the opportunity and 7% said they'd pay even more.
When considering opportunity costs, how much money would you be willing to spend to have a slightly more comforable plane ride?

Would you pay extra to be on a row with all thin people?  Or how about not sitting by someone reeking of cheap perfume, cigarette smoke, or alcohol?  Maybe you'd pay extra to fly on a TSA-free airline?
Amtrak now has quiet cars, so look for this trend hitting US airlines.

Delta Ranks Lowest on Brand Respect   

Guess which airline "fares" the worst when it comes to the best-known brands in the business world?

Delta Air Lines managed to beat out Philip Morris, the cigarette maker, to take the trophy for Least Respected Brand, according to a new survey from CoreBrand.

Its findings looked at 100 brands that had the highest familiarity and then measured them for their favorability to gauge perceptions about the brand.

Thank you to FlyersRights member Margalo for this news tip, who wrote, "No doubt you were happy to hear on a survey released (Aug. 20, announced on CBS) on most liked/disliked corps, that Delta was the most disliked corp of all major corps!  I have refused to fly Delta since 2009, when they cheated us of a refund."

Whad'Ya Know! 
Bankrupt AA Posts Record Profit in July
The Justice Department and FlyersRights have said American Airways and US Airways don't need to merge to be successful.  

Then yesterday AA posted a record monthly profit in July - not bad for a company that's still in bankruptcy!
This news comes after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit attempting to block the proposed merger between AA and US Airways, saying it would "substantially lessen competition" for commercial air travel. 

The DOJ argued that the companies would remain viable without merging, saying AA had manipulated the bankruptcy process "to lower its costs and revitalize its fleet."

Letters from the E-Mailbox 

I cannot believe that FlyersRights is taking the government's side to stopping this (AA-USAirways) merger.  Does not anyone realize that if the merger is stopped.  American will have to start from square 1 in bankruptcy court!!!!  The unions, employees and creditors will have to go through this procedure again.  It will cost the company millions of dollars.  Also this whole thing could end up with American filing chapter 7 liquidation and then thousands of people out of work, one less carrier and fares will skyrocket and United and Delta will control the American flying public.  Is this what you want?????  The creditors and shareholders will lose too along with the frequent flyers of American.  American had told their employees if they do not merge many more people will be let go and the airline will shrink including its hub in Chicago.  

I cannot believe flyers rights supports the loss of jobs.  The government does not care, because in their mind they would like to nationalize the airlines like they did with Amtrak.  What a mistake that is.  Forty Two years and still the service cannot support itself without heavy government subsidies. Also talk about nasty workers, try riding some of the trains and see how passengers are treated. They are a monopoly and the workers know it.  The more government gets involved in private companies and Americans lives, the worse things get!!!!!!!!  -xman

All mergers and bankruptcies are uncertain as to their outcomes.  And all bankruptcies result in at least some job losses. There will likely be job losses no matter what happens, especially at some hubs (nearly all airlines agree there are too many of them and prior mergers have always involved loss of hubs).
The is fact that pro-business, Republican state governments who are rarely pro-consumer in Arizona, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia and Florida are all suing to stop the merger, not just the Federal Government.  New York, Illinois, California did not join the suit.  Why?  Perhaps they felt that having fewer airlines would help enhance their airport hubs and the states joining the suit felt it would hurt or eliminate theirs.

Why has the Business Travel Coalition led the opposition against this merger?  Because its members, who are large corporations with millions of business employee travelers, see higher air fares and worse service if it goes through.
American is not going to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  It is now profitable and has a big cash reserve.  All legacy carriers except American have gone through Ch. 11 bankruptcy without liquidation (including USAirways, United, Continental, Northwest, and Delta).  Typically, creditors become the stockholders and can then sell their stock or control the airline, and unions also get on the board and hold stock. 
The big losers are stockholders who get wiped out, senior employees and retirees with lots of benefits, some management employees, and the lessors of unneeded or unwanted aircraft and airport gates. 
I have been riding AMTRAK as well as flying for many years.  If airlines continue to merge the future of air travel will look either like AMTRAK or like the cable TV industry where a few providers charge high rates and the public has less and less choice.  
The airline industry sees concentration with less competition as their savior.  Mergers also allow airlines to reduce frequent flyer benefits, and this has already happened with other mergers. 

This merger will likely lead to high consumer costs and poorer service and choice.  Even a liquidation of American, while very unlikely, is not all bad.  It could provide new entrants into the marketplace or provide cheap airplanes and better access to major hubs for other airlines. did not oppose the merger outright, and were it restructured with consumer protections we would not have opposed it.  
USAirways, which is really America West management who bought USAir out of bankruptcy, became a much better and lower cost airline after that acquisition. 
Paul Hudson  
FlyersRights president

The US Embassy in Jamaica refuses to give me a visa and I am not a
terrorist, what should I do?  -k.s.
FlyersRights has not been involved in visa issues, but this has become a big air travel issue since 9/11.  There is also heightened concern about illegal immigration, as 40% of illegal immigration is now the result of overstaying tourist and student visas.  
The State Department can also deny visas to some foreign nationals based on their political views. The Department of State also denies visas to some foreign nationals based on their political views.
My understanding is that the US DOS now wants to know things that would indicate whether you are likely to become an illegal immigrant, not just about terrorism. 
Americans are now required to get visas to many Latin American and other countries and pay hefty fees which are largely in retaliation for post 9/11 US visa restrictions.  This has led to fewer foreign tourists in the US and fewer Americans traveling abroad.  Ironically, the Saudis have now negotiated quick US entry for its citizens.  
A streamlining and reduction of visa costs and obstacles should occur, consistent with national security and illegal immigration considerations.  

Paul Hudson
FlyersRights president 

Regarding the claim:

 You won't find any limitations for how close airlines can squeeze in seats.

Since requiring more legroom would necessarily reduce the number
of seats on the aircraft, such a requirement would impose a
standard "relating to a price" under § 41713(b)(1), and is
accordingly preempted by the ADA. Section 41713(b)(1) not only
preempts the direct regulation of prices by states, but also
preempts indirect regulation "relating to" prices that have "the
forbidden significant effect" on such prices.

I think it's clear that it can be disregarded and seat pitch regulated or mandated by the DOT and/or the FAA.
My reasoning is that current DOT and/or FAA safety standards indirectly influence prices, for example the downtime caused by mandatory inspections and maintenance, the affect on throughput (the number of planes in the air) caused by the mandatory spacing between aircraft, the mandatory evacuation slides, that  add cost and weight to an aircraft and with that weight consuming fuel and adding to operation cost and thus influencing price.
In other words, the 'influence on price' argument against regulating seat  pitch is shown to be a specious argument used by airlines to increase revenue at the expense of comfort, dignity and safety. 

Please get seat pitch back to what it was in 1985, I had no difficulty with it then, even though my size was the same then. I could also fit my carry-on under the seat in front of me, which I can't now, the space is too small, too short, too narrow, also sometimes there appear to be air vents or heater vents under seats. I think I saw someplace that seats have not changed, only the spacing. I'd say that's untrue, my experience with my carry-on says otherwise, seats appear to have shrunk in all dimensions except height of the seatback. Depth and width are noticeably smaller and height above the floor is slightly less, and as we know 'pitch' is becoming extinct.  -P.S.
Kate Hanni, founder FlyersRights

Founded by Kate Hanni in 2007,
Paul Hudson, president FlyersRights

FlyersRights is funded entirely through donations.

Our Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) charity, to which contributions are tax deductible.
Thank you for your continued support!

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Monday, August 26, 2013
Purge The Merge
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Dear AA, what is Plan B?   

In a major victory for passenger rights, the Justice Department ground stopped the $12 billion merger between US Air and American Airlines. 
The antitrust lawsuit surprised everyone because the past four airline mergers were allowed to go through.  We applaud this action by DOJ.

Robert Crandall is outraged! "It's stunning. It's absolutely crazy," says the flighty  former president and chairman of American Airlines

Calling the government ignorant, he continues, "This is another indication that the U.S. government does not know the first thing about the aviation industry."  
"The people in Washington let things happen. And then when the consequences come along, they say, 'Oh [expletive]! [Expletive]!' Well, the answer is, '[Expletive] on you. You made a mistake. Now don't make another one.'   
FlyersRights members know that the airlines are not scraping by and they're not "struggling  to hang on," as some media outlets like the GreenbayPressGazette are bawling.
The DOJ complaint adds that airlines are now flying at capacity and generating
higher revenue and profits.  

It continues, USAir had record profits in 2012 and that AA had record revenue in its latest quarter, with $357 million in net profits. "American does not need this merger to thrive, let alone survive."  

The merger would substantially reduce competition in over 1,000 city pairs served by the two airlines, citing Charlotte, N.C.-Dallas; Charlotte-Durango, Colo.; Dallas-Philadelphia; and Kahului, Hawaii-Tampa, FL.

It would create four total monopolies including three that serve St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. And it said the merger would reduce competition on more than 1,000 routes.

In short, fares would go up across board to a new tier that would surely lock out many consumers that are barely finding a way now.
These mega giants claim that to regulate them would be disastrous for the economy, a claim which is absurd.

This merger needs to be stopped. Competition and improvement should be encouraged, not stifled.

Adam Smith's free market requires two key conditions:

1. No individual business or small group gains enough influence to control the marketplace.

2. There are not large barriers to prevent new businesses from entering the marketplace, thereby assuring a constant flow of competition.

Neither applies to the airline industry.


While backing government intervention in the private sector isn't always popular, there is a line where the government needs to step in to protect the consumer.  FlyersRights supports the enforcement of fair business practices.

FlyersRights' Statement on the Merger:

The proposed merger between American Airlines and USAirways should only be approved with regulation establishing national and international standards for enforceable airline passenger rights.

Due to the lack of low cost airlines in the US, we now support allowing selected foreign low cost carriers to fly domestic routes.

In sum, we believe this proposed merger of American and USAirways should be restructured or disapproved by the Justice Department, unless competition is clearly not reduced and passenger rights are well protected by new legislation and rulemaking.

As the airlines and DOT have failed this year to either to support passenger rights or restructure the merger proposal to protect competition and consumer choice at many airports, supports the lawsuits by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and several state attorneys general to block the US Airways-American Airlines merger. 

We are gratified that they have largely adopted the position of, the Aviation Consumer Action Project, the Business Travel Coalition and the American Antitrust Foundation.

To view the full Complaint click here, or the Department of Justice web site.
Air travel is a unique business of which certain aspects must be regulated (safety in particular).  But this limiting of competition should be offset by government oversight. 
Curiously, the airlines have no problem hiding behind the government when you try to sue them in small claims court.

There is an alternative solution. The U.S. should allow certified foreign airlines to fly domestic routes in the U.S. They know what they're doing and most of them treat their customers well.

Flying used to be pleasurable. Now we are transported like cattle. Those cheap airfares are an illusion. Now airlines add fees to almost everything that used to be included in the higher airfares we used to pay. 
It would appear that the American airline industry is going the way of the American automobile industry.  Making money in the easiest way possible and not paying attention to the quality of their products.
If it weren't for the need to maintain frequent flyer status to amass miles for upgrades and to avoid the dreaded back of the boarding line, fliers would long ago have abandoned the legacy carriers.  
Perhaps AA's backup Plan B entitled 'DOJ Rejection', is exactly what it wanted.  The thought of US Air running AA is not something AA management cherished. They didn't want to worry about US Air's culture invading anyway.
Delta Wasn't Ready When He Was
Earlier this month our inbox filled up with people sending us this story about Delta making a disabled passenger crawl off a plane last July. 
D. Baraka Kanaan, of Maui, sued Delta Air Lines in Federal Court, claiming Delta's "outrageous conduct occurred not once, but twice."   
According to the suit, the passenger had booked tickets from Maui to Nantucket, Mass., where he would be participating in a conference.  
He says he called the airline weeks in advance of the trip "to confirm that he is disabled, that he would be traveling with his own wheelchair, and that he required the use of an aisle chair and lift to access the aircraft because he cannot walk."

The complaint saysthat the Delta rep "assured him that all was noted in the company's travel database, and that he would be received and given reasonable accommodation for his disability."
His original flight was canceled due to weather. So he caught a flight the next day, but when it arrived at the airport, the plaintiff alleges he "was informed by one of the flight attendants that the airline did not have the required safety equipment, an 'aisle chair' to bring him from his seat to the airplane door; nor did they have a lift to go down the stairs from the aircraft to the tarmac to retrieve his wheelchair."
Given that he needed this equipment to deplane, he asked the flight attendant how he was expected to exit the aircraft.
He claims that the attendant replied, "I don't know, but we can't get you off the plane," even though he says there was a lift available at the neighboring gate. No effort was made by employees to inquire about the use of the lift, says the suit.
With little other option, and no one apparently willing to help, the passenger says he "was forced to crawl down the aisle of the airplane, down the stairs of the aircraft, and across the tarmac to his wheelchair without any assistance from the crew or the use of any mandated safety equipment... There were a great number of people watching."

He says he called Delta, which offered him a $100 voucher for his troubles. The airline also promised that all arrangements would be made so that this didn't happen again on his return trip.

Alas, after another weather-delayed flight, the passenger says when it came time to board, "he was again informed that the necessary safety equipment, an aisle chair and a lift, were unavailable, but that they 'could provide a piece of cardboard to put down so that his clothes wouldn't get dirty."

The passenger says Delta was in violation of the Airline Carrier Access Act which requires planes with at least 31 passengers to "provide boarding assistance to individuals with disabilities by using ramps, mechanical lifts, or other suitable devices where level-entry boarding by loading bridge or mobile lounge is not available."

Hard to believe this comes on the heels of a recent Delta incident where a disabled veteran was humiliated to tears on a 2012 flight.  As well as a 2008 event where Delta made a woman with muscular dystrophy crawl off a plane.

Kate Hanni, FlyersRights founder
Paul Hudson, FlyersRights president

We know there's a huge gap between certain airlines and basic humanity. 

Worse, there's a huge gap in airline policies that allows these airlines to abuse customers.

This is why we fight for passenger protections, because airlines are not willing to ensure basic rights of their passengers.

That is what the Passenger Bill of Rights is about.

 First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. 
-Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Just Plane Packed
JetBlue herds more into planes with thinner seats and less legroom 
Surprises From Asiana Crash Investigation

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

FlyersRights has written about this for years and it's always one of the top three complaints in our polling. 

At the risk of preaching to the choir, 
it bears repeating; the FAA has zero minimum standards for legroom anywhere inside a commercial aircraft with the exception of the aisle width and exit row seat for egress in case of an emergency.

For this reason, you won't find any limitations for how close airlines can squeeze in seats. 

Since requiring more legroom would necessarily reduce the number
of seats on the aircraft, such a requirement would impose a
standard "relating to a price" under § 41713(b)(1), and is
accordingly preempted by the ADA. Section 41713(b)(1) not only
preempts the direct regulation of prices by states, but also
preempts indirect regulation "relating to" prices that have "the
forbidden significant effect" on such prices. Link 

Your chances of fatal deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
increases after four hours of immobility according to the World Health Organization.

JetBlue just announced it will cram seats closer together in coach to make room for new first-class cabins, thereby putting people at grave risk by squeezing every last inch of legroom in economy class. 

JetBlue was the last bastion with reasonable, affordable legroom and where someone could recline their seat without being in your lap. They were well-loved because they gave coach passengers more legroom than most airlines. 

You can check a given airline's seat pitch on   

Seat pitch refresher: from the same fixed point, from your seat back to the seat back of the seat in front, including the padding, magazine holders, tray table and so on.  

The NY Times writes about  new rear-facing seats being employed in some new Business-class seating as a way to pack more seats into limited space.

Pretty soon coach will just be an open, windowless area with hay on the floor.


Safety Surprises from Asiana Crash Investigation

San Francisco hospitals that dealt with the Asiana Airline injured reported an unusually high number of spinal injuries, the worst of which include crushed vertebrae and torn ligaments.

FlyersRights hasraised the issue ofseat pitch lacking enough space for the "brace position" as indicated on the procedures card.   
We also raised several cabin safety issues like managing oversized bags and passengers attempting to take too many carry-on bags aboard, and what loads are the overhead bins designed for?
According to Randy Scarlett, board director of the California Brain Injury Association, "there were significant spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries with the first wave of patients. More subtle concussions and spinal cord injuries were in the second wave of those patients coming to San Francisco General [Hospital]." Scarlett expects that while 80% will fully recover, "20% will be affected for a significant time in their lives." 

Currently, the entire forward force of a crash is absorbed only by a lap strap.  In modern cars the 3-point harnesses are standard, as are airbags.  Why in aviation, where although accidents are a lot more rare, are we still using just a single strap? The result is that in many accidents, passengers survive the crash, but pelvic injuries (and lower limb injury caused by legs hitting the seat structure in front), prevent a successful unaided evacuation of the aircraft. 

Time to look at this again?
Report: Safety Surprises From Asiana Crash Investigation
While NTSB investigators look closely into the actions of the flight crew for potential causes behind the July 6 Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER accident, safety experts working on the other side of the cockpit door are already learning valuable new design lessons for crash survivability. 
Although all but two of the 307 passengers and crew survived the ordeal, more than 180 were injured, several of them critically. Therefore, while looking into why the crash occurred in the first place, the investigation is focusing just as closely on why these injuries and deaths were sustained, and it has already unearthed troubling concerns about the functionality of the aircraft's main exit escape slides. 
Video and eyewitness accounts testify to the violence of the aircraft's brief passage along San Francisco International Airport's Runway 28L before coming to an abrupt halt to the south side of the strip, adjacent to the touchdown zone markers some 1,500 ft. from the threshold. Although the aircraft did not cartwheel in the same devastating way as in the 1989 DC-10 crash in Sioux City, Iowa, it was massively damaged by an initial impact with the seawall and the displaced runway threshold, during which parts of the main landing gear and the entire empennage were ripped away. Traveling at over 100 mph, the aircraft departed the runway at the touchdown markers where it became partially airborne again, pirouetting in a complete 360-deg. circle around its nose section. 

During this high-speed ground loop, the aft end of the tailless fuselage momentarily pitched up at around 40 deg., causing passengers and crew in the back section of the cabin to fall vertically as much as 100 ft. when the aircraft came to a rest with its nose pointed back toward the runway. Despite this pummeling, the fuselage structure remained substantially intact with the extensively damaged wings appearing to have borne the brunt of the impact loads. Although the forward two-thirds of the fuselage was gutted by the post-crash fire, the overall structural integrity of the cabin section was not immediately compromised by the impact itself, with significant buckling only evident in two zones: forward of the wing root and aft by Section 47/48 where the empennage was broken off. 

The NTSB says the fire was caused by oil leaking from a ruptured tank onto the damaged remains of the No.2 (starboard) Pratt & Whitney PW4090 engine, which was ripped from its wing mountings and lay beside the fuselage. The left engine was detached during the initial ground roll and came to rest on the north side of the runway, just under 2,000 ft. from the threshold. While the fire makes it more difficult for investigators to assess the post-crash condition of the forward and mid-cabin sections, the intact aft cabin is yielding information about the survivability design aspects of seats, interior paneling, overhead bin structures, seat tracks, cabin floors, exits and escape slides. 

Images released by the NTSB of the aft cabin, close to the buckled section by Doors L4 and R4, show how the seating, cabin floor and ceiling in some areas, were significantly damaged and dislodged. Already weakened by the initial impact and loss of belly skin and structure below Section 47/48, the bulk of the aft cargo hold and lower lobe structure beneath the floor of the aft cabin appears to have been either ripped away by the slide along the runway or crushed by the vertical impact that ended the ground loop. 

Nevertheless, despite massive damage, investigators say the surprisingly small number of fatalities and relatively intact interior present a very survivable picture, with much of the internal trim, ceiling panels and sidewalls still in place. This is partly thought to be due to Boeing's internal design concept, in which the tie rods supporting the arch of the secondary support structure (which holds the interior of the cabin ceiling panels and overhead bins to the fuselage monocoque) transfer loads above 46,000 lb. and withstand loads of up to 9g. Tie rods were built to absorb up and down loads, while truss-type sway bracing structure support the ceiling laterally. The seats are designed to meet the 16g crash load certification standard, while the seat tracks were originally designed to cope with stresses of 9g. 

However, San Francisco hospitals that dealt with the injured report an unusually high number of spinal injuries, the worst of which include crushed vertebrae and torn ligaments, testifying to the excessive lateral and vertical loads sustained during the accident. Although safety experts say assuming the crash position would have limited jolting to the spine, passengers appear to have received little or no warning of the impact. According to Randy Scarlett, board director of the California Brain Injury Association, "there were significant spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries with the first wave of patients. More subtle concussions and spinal cord injuries were in the second wave of those patients coming to San Francisco General [Hospital]." Scarlett expects that while 80% will fully recover, "20% will be affected for a significant time in their lives."
Sneaky Ryanair  
Ryanair cabin staff told to keep passengers' change

Ryanair sinks to new depths as staff have been told to increase the company's profits by adopting a 'no change' policy.

The advice is contained in a document called Ryanair Sales Tips, produced by Retail In Motion, a company calling itself an 'in-flight retail specialist'. 

The handbook instructs flight attendants to tell passengers they have no change left when buying from the cart, according to  

Cabin crew are encouraged to follow a 'keep the change' policy in a training document.

It is suggested they mislead passengers by claiming to have 'no change left' when they sell food or drink.

Under the heading 'Have you tried these?' the A4 document reads: 'Keep the change! A simple and effective method to help boost your passenger spend count.

'If you owe someone €2.00 advise that you are short of change right now, and can return the change at the end of the service.  

'Or ask them if you would like to purchase a scratchcard, or something to the value of €2.00.

The airline's controversial boss Michael O'Leary is renowned for his revenue-enhancing ideas that aim to increase turnover and lower costs.

Read More: DailyMail 
Worst TSA Checkpoint?
Last week we asked for your worst domestic TSA checkpoints. You did not disappoint. Here are some replies:
Three way tie. LAX, OAK, and HOU (international transfer checkpoint). They are much slower than anywhere else I have been and treat passengers like prisoners....yelling and pointing what people need to do...very ineffective.  I am amazed at the disparity between those three and all other airports.  You would think they would have consultants who are experts in handling lines like any large amusement park such as Disney World and Universal Studios.  They ought to have to meet performance metrics like everybody else who works and they ought to be publicly available for each airport to compare. My two cents. - M.B.
Charleston, South Carolina....woefully understaffed for the number of flyers using the gates and the agents are worse than rude....they are hostile. I havewritten complaints to the TSA several times. Thankfully, my sibling is moving from there and I won't be traveling there much longer. - tmt44gpn

The worst checkpoint is SLC. - H.S.

I used to say Grand Rapids, MI was bad but a certain TSA agent at Kalamazoo MI was over the top on two occasions last November and December.  I have 2 trips coming up soon and if that agent is on duty I will loudly protest the humiliating screening I get because I have 2 hip replacements.  I get a breast exam and my crouch felt three times.  The first time flying after the first replacement I showed my card of my implant and the response I got was "anyone can get one of those cards" and my response was "do you want me to drop my drawers and show you my scar".  I am almost 75 years old and no way am I any kind of threat to anyone. Thank you for helping all of us enjoy flying again. - E.H.

L.A. Airport is the worst domestic TSA checkpoint. - S.G.

Dog vs. Machine in Enforcing Security  
Rover is cheaper and less invasive than body scanners.
Dogs are exceptional at sensing explosives, do not require software upgrades, don't depreciate with use and might even be able to detect bombs implanted under a person's skin. 

In short, everything FlyersRights has voiced about dogs were said in a CBS Radio Charles Osgood piece yesterday. We were thrilled to hear this on the radio

"The billions spent on the TSA puffer machines and naked body scanners was a waste of taxpayer dollars" said Kate Hanni, FlyersRights' founder. "Had they gone 'to the dogs' we would be safer."

"Osgood makes a great point in that a terrorist or someone with a bomb in their backpack is not going to stick around when they see a dog," Kate said.

Except dogs are missing the most important thing that body scanners have: 

Quote of the Week:  If air travel is so safe, why do they call it a 'terminal'?  George Carlin.

Thursday, August 8, 2013
You've Got Answers, We've Got Results 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

In our July FlyersRights Poll, we asked you to share your biggest complaints about air travel, and your big three issues are:
  1. Deceptive and Unfair Ticket Pricing and Advertising
  2. Delays, Scheduling and Customer Service
  3. Flight Safety, Security and Health Issues
"For the first time, airline passengers now place deceptive and unfair ticket pricing and advertising as their top of their priority, said Paul Hudson, FlyersRights president, "with delays and customer service complaints being a close second."

"FRO's priority efforts will focus on these member priorities," continued Hudson. "In the next 10 days the CEO of each major airline will receive specific requests for needed changes, hopefully making filing formal complaints or engaging in lengthy rulemaking, legislative efforts or litigation less necessary."

Toward that end, we are pleased to report that American Airlines, in response to our recent complaint regarding its confusing baggage fees, has added the following paragraph to its web site:

Please note that more than one baggage charge may apply to a particular bag. For example a second checked bag that is overweight would incur both a second checked bag charge and an overweight bag charge. If that bag was also oversize, it would incur an oversize charge as well. Learn more about oversize and overweight bags.

Of course, since American's baggage fees (9 possible fees) can exceed $1,000 (for three checked bags), they can still be exorbitant, but are now more clearly so.
This is not a scientific random survey of passengers, but it represents a current indication of passenger priorities and major complaint areas.   
FlyersRights Survey
Choose your top 3 concerns:

Some Responses To The Survey:

Delta just upgraded their seats. Armrests are lower and my arms wouldn't reach - I had to fold my arms and hold them in place for 14 hours JFK to Toyko - WORSE - the armrest dug into my leg and I was bruised black and blue when I arrived.

I'm most concerned about how people are treated on flight by the airline industry (not the crew). We are confined to our seats on tarmacs without access to restrooms. We shouldn't be treated like prisoners not to be able to get up out of our seat when the plane isn't moving. Also, during these summer months that can be very hot we are forced to stay in our seat without a/c.

I fly internationally for leisure travel 4x a year on Delta and have had good service. On our Air France connection in Paris to Delhi We were upgraded to Economy Select which was better than 1st class on domestic Delta flights. Some airlines do treat us well.
Thanks for keeping us informed and advocating for us!

The TSA has turned airports into virtual concentration camps. All that's missing is the Arbeit Macht Frei on the doorway as we walk in. Want to know what fascism looks like? Look no further than your local airport.

After all these years and bankruptcies, airlines have never learned any lessons about just how much they have done to alienate the people who support them. They arrogantly believe they are indispensable, and consumers support that by ignoring the bad behaviors and buying & flying anyway. Stop using them, and they will get the message, not before.
Compensation for Excessive Flight Delays-
If we miss connecting flights due to late arrival, the airline should pay any increased costs we incur.
Tarmac Delays and Strandings-
Unfortunately nothing gets done in the US until ACTION is taken. Passengers held captive at the airport should open the airliner door and slide down the shoots. Legal defense: Escaped captivity.

Airlines hate their customers. It is a unique, failing business model.

what is your agenda for 2013 2014,when it comes to getting some good laws passed for the flying public. A lot that goes on is totaly Uncunstitutional. 1)Aperson can not be held captive for more than 3 hr "tarmac rule"law passed" 

TSA unreasonable search/pat downs of children/seniors/crippled people and disabled veterans/military."no laws paased"
Thank You For All Your Hard Work
#1 is the shrinking of seats and seat pitch. This is very dangerous and makes flying miserable. Next is tarmac strandings, also extremely dangerous for passengers. And 3rd on my list is pilot training; pilots are not getting the salaries they deserve or training they need for modern aircraft, as evidenced over past 10 years. This is very frightening. The profession is being degraded.

I refuse to fly commercial [unless there is a dire emergency] because of invasive TSA so-called 'security' measures that violate personal privacy and fly in the face of the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. TSA MUST be reigned in for their fascist, ineffective, and invasive body searches ~ Yes, even since elimination of the absurd naked body scanners!

By far leg room in coach is the most important issue. Current seats strike me as subhuman, in violation of basic human rights, and a health hazard due to possibility of DVT and other injuries. PLEASE make this a priority for this organization. I am also concerned about deteriorating conditions for disabled passengers, as my husband is disabled and we have been in some nightmare situations recently.

Competition is required in the airline industry. The US DOJ should investigate the industry for collusion. This is true across the industry worldwide. It may be time to regulate the industry just as utilities are regulated.

Tarmac delays are still the number one issue. Significant fines must be issued in order to keep "teeth" in the present 3 hour maximum. Thanks for all the work you have done and are continuing to do to make air travel a more pleasant and safe experience for all of us.

I hate everything about air travel in USA - the ambiguity of website info over luggage (seems to change daily, phone queries never answered satisfactorily) anything to do with code share parameters (different luggage allowances on Intl code share flights) lack of space in overhead lockers, poor assistance with quickly getting people seated/luggage stowed, torturous seat sizes, cold air causing sinus problems, miserable meal portions, horrible AVequipmemt (virgin Atlantic) rude & unruly passengers.
FlyersRights Rules In Action:

Southwest 'Ding' Sting
The Department of Transportation said last week that it was fining Southwest Airlines $200,000 for failing to comply with DOT rules on pricing.
The DOT rules say that airlines that advertise a price have to have a reasonable number of seats available at that price. Southwest had advertised fares but didn't make enough seats available, the DOT said. 
DOT's Aviation Enforcement Office found that Southwest advertised one-way, nonstop fares "for $100 or less" for travel on Feb. 14, 2013, but failed to include a reasonable number of seats available in a significant number of city-pair markets in the fare sale.
In addition, on Jan. 30, 2013, Southwest advertised $66 one-way fares from Dallas Love Field to Branson, Mo., between March 1, 2013, and March 21, 2013. However, there were no seats available at the sale fare on any day during the sale period.
By advertising fares for which a reasonable number of seats were not available and advertising fares that were not available at all, Southwest violated the full fare advertising rule and engaged in prohibited unfair and deceptive practices.
DOT Nabs Frontier Airlines - Advertising Violations

DOT enforcement office is out with a $80,000 civil consent fine against Frontier Airlines for violations of fare advertising rules.
DOT investigation found that Frontier, for a period of nine months, conducted email advertising to promote its World MasterCard with a statement that consumers would qualify for a free round-trip ticket by joining the card.
Frontier failed to note consumers would have to also pay certain fees and taxes to qualify for the free ticket. These mandatory charges were not disclosed anywhere in the advertisements or in the footnotes.

Merry Christmas American Eagle - Love, DOT

Your FlyersRights tarmac delay rule allowed DOT to fine American Eagle $200,000 for keeping passengers on its airplanes too long at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport last Christmas Day.

The carrier violated DOT rules that prevent airlines from keeping passengers on grounded airplanes for more than three hours without allowing them to get off the airplane. 
Boeing 787, Quality You Can Count On!
A week or so ago we actually thought, it's been a few days so we're due to hear about another Boeing 787 issue.
The fault was found in a transformer rectifier unit that powers cockpit display and other critical functions. (You know a product has real issues when the media can and will identify failing parts by their name.)
At least this problem came to light before the plane entered revenue service. 
Homeland In-Security
TSA Accused Of 9,600 Cases Of Agent Misconduct  

An incriminating report on airport agents' behavior released by the General Accounting Office last week found more than 9,600 cases of misconduct within TSA between 2010 and 2012, a 26% increase in misconduct, with the number steadily rising over the years.

Only 17% of the violators were fired; most were either reprimanded orsuspended.

The acts of abuse varied, ranging from incidents of TSA officers caught sleeping on the job, leaving their shifts without permission, arriving late or sometimes not even showing up at all!

In some instances agents let their families and friends through security with prohibited items.

In another case, a TSA agent was suspended for 30 days after a closed-circuit camera caught the officer failing to individually examine X-ray images of passenger items, as required by agency policy.  
There were also 56 cases of theft and bribery. One TSA agent admitted to stealing between $10,000 and $30,000 from passengers; two admitted taking $40,000 from a traveler's bag at New York's JFK Airport.

"TSA employees receive good Federal pay and benefits," said Paul Hudson, FlyersRights president. "Today with high unemployment, especially among military veterans with good records, there is no excuse for not quickly weeding out and firing screeners for misconduct or incompetence." 

"Yet GAO audits and Congressional testimony show a deteriorating and dysfunctional management at TSA," Hudson continued. "Not firing employees unless criminal conduct is proven by a preponderance of evidence shows a dangerous laxity as well as a double standard."

"Airline passengers are regularly arrested or fined for far less serious infractions than many TSA employees are being charged with," Hudson said. "The White House and Congress need to require TSA have zero tolerance for security employee misconduct, as well as management incompetence, starting at the top."  

In your experience, where is the worst domestic TSA checkpoint?  
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Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights
Founded by Kate Hanni in 2007, FlyersRights
Paul Hudson, president of 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!