Friday, October 25, 2013
 Squeeze Play
US Airlines Installing Thinner Seats To Cram More On Board

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

If you didn't think more seats could be crammed into coach, the airlines have figured it out for you.  
They are called "Slimline" seats, and are coming to an airline near you. 
Already, United, Southwest, Delta and Alaska Airlines have installed these thinner seats to squeeze in more passengers.
The airlines have been moving quickly to cut seat weight and add extra passenger space by installing this new tighter seating.

You gotta give credit to a great name; "Slimline". Sleek and elegant sounding, and at all not like an instument of torture.  Harkens back to slim cigarettes.

Does that mean fares are going to be slimmer too? It stands to reason that if they are going to crush more people on the plane, then the flight should be cheaper.    

So how do you slim down a seat? 
Here are some factoids from an Associated Press (AP) article:
  • airlines removing "bulky seats" and installing "slim line" ones
  • the new seats are more narrow, and an inch less leg room
  • less weight, less fuel needed for the seat-weight alone
  • (of course, more passenger weight and more baggage weight - but increased revenue from both)
  • reduced aisle space (when adding an extra seat per row)
  • airlines making seat-back pockets slimmer or moving them above the tray tables, so they can say they have more knee space
  • and about those tray tables, they are getting smaller in some cases
DVT Anyone?

You may ask, "What are they trying to kill us? You can't move your legs!"
The dangers of coach-class travel: Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is well-documented.
Moving your legs often during long plane trips is one way to help prevent DVT, but becoming impossible with tighter seating configurations.
In a typical year, two million people (nationally) are treated for DVT, one million of these are caused by air travel.
Given that medical examiners have already called DVT death "Economy Class Syndrome," a case could be made that the airlines are endangering passengers' lives.  
World's Worst Airline Seat, Coming Soon

If you enjoy being packed like sardines with very, very little room on all sides, then you'll love the next generation of airline seating that FlyersRights warned about years ago.  

Called "SkyRider" saddle-like seats, they'll make Slimline's seem ritzy.

Isn't this depressing? Why not just come right out and stop making seats altogether.

Just make everyone stand strapped to a pole. That's what flying has become nowadays!  
 From The Mailbag!


Dear Sirs:

I get the feeling that FlyersRights doesn't understand why we have the huge lack of customer service in the airline industry today.  You are correct that it is because of lack of competition, but the reason for the lack of competition isn't because they are merging, that is just a symptom of the root problem.  
At it's core, the problem is government regulation.  Every regulation has a cost, and over the decades as regulation has increased, costs have increased with them.  Larger companies are able to spread those costs out over their entire operation and pass them on (they all get passed on one way or another) to the consumer in smaller chunks, while the smaller companies aren't able to do that as well.  In manufacturing this has forced a lot of businesses to go overseas in an effort to do anything possible to lower costs.  In the airlines industry this has forced lower service and stupid charges and fees.

Note, this isn't just about airline-specific regulation, all regulations affect the products, services and labor that the airlines have to pay for, so their costs increase as all government regulations increase.  I hope Flyers Rights will start to understand the economics that have caused us to get to this point, and help to work to decrease government regulation.  Of course, taxes on the economy function like regulations, increasing costs everywhere.
The more regulations and taxes that we have, the less small companies will be started or able to survive to give us good customer service.


Dear L.R., 

I don't know any basis for your contention that mergers are not reducing airline competition, but government regulation is. 

Certainly the antitrust authorities in Washington and several Republican leaning states disagree.  There will be an interesting trial next month on the US Airways-American Airlines merger that should give both sides a chance to marshal their evidence and for the court to issue a decision with findings. Our comments in opposition to that merger were based on both anecdotal evidence and on studies by the American Antitrust Foundation which has leading experts as well as the Business Travel Coalition which represents large corporations with big air travel budgets. See here.

You paint regulation as bad for business, especially small businesses and by implication the economy and consumer prices, with a very broad brush.  Adam Smith, the father of free market capitalism, as the alternative to government sanctioned monopolies, famously observed that "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

There is also the American phrase "railroaded" (being forced to do something unfairly and especially quickly with undue pressure) which grew out of abuses and the lack of regulation of railroads in the late 1800s. support of reasonable regulation is to prevent passengers from being "airlined". 

Internal airline documents are quite clear that higher ticket prices and the ability to crush competition are the principal benefits of mergers. 

Many small businesses need low cost, convenient air travel much more than large ones who can afford private jets and first class tickets.  And while it is generally true that large businesses can better afford regulation expenses, many government regulations of airlines are actually protective of smaller airlines, communities, businesses and consumers. 

As to specific airline regulations, I wonder which ones you would abolish: The Three Hour Rule? Truth in Scheduling?  Safety and Security regulation? Lost Baggage or Bumping compensation?  

Paul Hudson
President, FlyersRights 

First the FlyersRights.
Didn't you find it ironic that in the same newsletter that points out how ludicrous it is that the airlines are up charging us for every bag, every up grade, every everything that FlyersRights now charges (donations - whatever you want to call it's an up charge) for "premium" access to the very thing that Flyer's Rights was created for, to assist "the every man" get a fair shake from the ever increasing monster fees and abuse from airlines. 



We would like to provide all services for free to every passenger but resources will not permit it.  The phone company does not donate our hotlines.  Our volunteers selflessly donate both their time and money for the satisfaction of helping all passengers. 

Government, foundations, business corporations, and airlines of course also donate nothing.  And unfortunately there are thousands of  frequent flyer, free riders who have been helped by, including many helped directly to recover monetarily, who donate little or nothing.  I trust you are not one of those. If so, shame on you.   

As for airline fees for "extra services", we favor full disclosure, and prohibition of fees that undermine basic health and safety, amount to deceptive advertising, or are clearly exorbitant. 
Paul Hudson
President, FlyersRights

I have to come to the defense of airlines. To begin with, airlines are caught up in a pricing spiral. 

What most passengers say they wanted is lower airfares. No business can survive if not profitable. This is very basic economics which passengers begrudgingly do not wish to concede to airlines.

Passengers are seeking the cheapest seat available. 
If you think profits by the airlines is not necessary for their survival then you need to do a quick study of what happens when airlines are no longer profitable... PanAm, TWA, Eastern just to name a few that collapsed when they were no longer profitable. None of these three "died" due to mismanagement but are no longer around because they could not pay their mounting bills.

To complain about the cost of airfare and what you purchase with that discounted fare is not reasonable. 

I challenge anyone to prove that flying to your next destination is not a good value given the time saved and distance traveled. As far as your comfort on that flight, well, you get what you pay for.  Just an old pilots thoughts...
P.S. Don't even get me started on the evils of the TSA...


Airlines have reduced their labor related costs which is their number one cost by lowering compensation and benefits, outsourcing and automation, except perhaps for executive compensation.  Fuel is the second biggest cost and that has also been declining and is likely to continue to do so.  Load factors are at record levels. Interest rates for solvent airlines are at record lows. 

Airfares are up, and so are profits.  So I challenge the contention of any price spiral.  Insolvency of most airlines is related to legacy labor costs and inefficiencies, poor management cultures, safety issues, lack of domestic routes, competition with foreign subsidized carriers, OPEC fuel price increases, and lack of access to foreign capital due to US law prohibiting foreign ownership or control of US airlines.

It is reasonable for consumers to seek lower prices and higher quality services and for airlines to seek higher profits. simply believes there need to be limits.  Otherwise, deceptive and unfair consumer practices that are highly profitable will drive out good ones, especially without robust competition. And airlines that want to provide superior service will be at a competitive disadvantage.  As Greshman's Law states succinctly,
"Bad money drives out good." 

The fact that airlines, railroads, and many other businesses like engineering firms, farming, or travel and tourism businesses usually have profit problems is not the whole story.  Such industries provide essential services, millions of good jobs and are a vital part of the modern economy. 

Fees for everything is the new airline mantra; witness Spirit Airlines' 74 listed fees and American Airlines' three tiers of checked baggage fees buried in its website.  If you are Ok with those, how would you feel about a fee for talking to a live person, a fee for water, a fee for cabin air and ventilation, a fee for passengers over a certain weight, a fee for toilet use, a surcharge for children,  a fee for a seat instead of standing room?  Most or all of these are already on the drawing boards at some airlines.  They could well become reality much sooner than you think. 

Without and push back by the DOT and FAA and Congress, you will not necessarily get whatever you think you paid for, but rather whatever service an airline provides at its commercial convenience or even whim. 

Paul Hudson
President, FlyersRights 
Horror Story of the Week: 
How the NSA obtains and uses airline reservations

A front page report in The New York Times last month confirms that the National Security Agency (NSA), uses airline reservation data as part of its profiling and social network analysis of US citizens and foreigners. The article also raises new questions as to how the NSA obtains and uses this airline data.

The Times' report on NSA social network analysis mentions that:
The [NSA] can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including ... passenger manifests...,  according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such "enrichment" data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners....
[T]he N.S.A. correlates 164 "relationship types" to build social networks and what the agency calls "community of interest" profiles, using queries like "travelsWith".
A typical PNR like the one shown below includes a time-stamped IP address (line 5 of the "remarks" in the example above), email address, home address, credit card number, mobile phone number, etc., so it can readily be correlated with Internet, communications, and financial records.
Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights
Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights
FlyersRights will offer premium memberships
for a $10 
monthly (or more) contribution.  
This will grant you direct access to FlyersRights experts to help resolve air travel problems in real time and where necessary referral to legal assistance. 
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.

We welcome your thoughts and opinions.
Email your letters to:
Write to:
4411 Bee Ridge Road
Sarasota, FL 34233
This email was sent to by | 4411 Bee Ridge Road | Sarasota | FL | 34233

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Carry On
and On and On

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Flying these days is like riding the subway, without the glamour. 

Sandy Huffaker/NYT. Like the exodus from Egypt. Passengers carry as much as possible onboard to avoid checked bag fees.
The airlines are always looking to make money, resulting in travelers paying expanded ticket prices and finding a lack of convenience and service. 

Rather than modeling a respectful travel environment that welcomes all travelers, the airlines are pitting their customers against one another via scarce real estate of the overhead bins.

Instead of allowing one checked bag with the price of your ticket, the majority of the airlines have halted this.

Alaska Air, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, Spirit, United, US Airways, and Virgin America now all charge for the first checked bag. 
As a result, passengers bring as much on-board as possible.

(Only Southwest and Jetblue still allow a free checked bag.  Southwest actually gives you two free bags and doesn't seem to have a problem making money.)

Some low-cost carriers have tiptoed into charging for carry ons.  They include Spirit, Allegiant and Frontier. A trend that's rumored to continue.

TSA has complained about the increasing number of carry on items they must screen, and considering that checked bags go through a bomb detection screening, and carry ons do not.
Business Of The Bins 
Last weekend the New York Times ran a prominent piece; "Airlines Cash In on Every Inch, Even the Jammed Bins Overhead", about the battle of the bins, the preflight scrum over carry-on space with priority given to those who pay.  
The overhead compartments are valuable real estate, and these days, they go to the highest bidders.
Sandy Huffaker/NYT. Finding space onboard has become competitive as people carry more bags onto the plane.
Without rules to go along with these baggage fees, that have become so common in the past ten years, it means chaos on the plane and overload at security checkpoints.

TSA agents are swamped with the circus of suitcases, shopping bags, strollers, shoes, jackets and everything that people throw on the belt in a rush. 

Perhaps we brought this upon ourselves, for not protesting sooner. 
The reality is people are very easily influenced by a low-sticker ticket price. That's the only number we see until we actually pay. Then we get the bill for all the extra "services" (i.e. peanuts, lukewarm water, a fraction more legroom, baggage fees, etc.).
But it is the airlines themselves that created these demands by jamming the maximum payload of people onto an aircraft. 
In the past we've written about "stand-up" flights. Instead of seats you stood, in a secure sort of way. But think of how many more people they could load a plane without the problem of legroom. 
Sooner or later we'll all just be cargo.  
An Industry Ripe For Creative Destruction
The airlines claim they are providing an option travelers want. 
But the statements by two airline spokesmen captures the disconnect between the airline and its passengers and should be a red flag:

"It's something our customers desire," said an American Airlines spokesman, Matt Miller. Charlie Hobart, a United Airlines spokesman, said, "We're always looking for ways to make travel more convenient for our customers."

There isn't a customer in the world who DESIRES to pay for their bags to go with them, just as there's no DESIRE to pay extra fees for early boarding and overhead bin space.  

The reason that the airlines are getting away with this is that they
 have merged away competition. This is what consolidation in the airline industry has wrought. Reduced competition, higher prices, jam-packed planes, not an extra inch of space.

We're at a fork in the road. Either we get concessions from the airlines or we have a monopoly situation.
Hold Onto Your Seatbelts. Debt Ceiling Crisis:
Washington, DC. -Fri, Oct 11, 2013.

Paul Hudson, president of, a large airline passenger organization with 30,000 members, called today on US airlines to immediately waive change fees and offer refunds to passengers whose trips have been cancelled due to the Federal Government shutdown. 

He noted, "The unprecedented closing of all national parks, hundreds of tourist destinations and nearly all other federal facilities since September 30th has and will continue to require many thousands of travelers to cancel or postpone air travel.  This Federal shutdown has become a national travel emergency.  Airlines and other travel operators should not profit at the expense of passengers with high change fees and inflexible cancellation policies."

"And unless the shutdown is lifted shortly, air travelers also face a likely air travel slow down as early as next week. FAA air traffic controllers, while still on the job, are not currently being paid, and most air safety inspectors were furloughed starting October 1st."

"Without airlines taking proactive voluntary action, it will be 'Traveler Beware' time as the shutdown makes future travel planning uncertain and potentially subject to costly cancellation and change expenses."

A survey conducted this week of major airlines found that only Delta has waived the usual $200 change fee for travel impacted by the federal shutdown.  US Airways, American, United, JetBlue and Allegiant airlines all advised that they would continue to impose their regular change of reservation fees (typically $200 per ticket) plus the difference in airfare for changes and would continue to deny refunds for nonrefundable tickets despite the Federal government shutdown. Southwest does not have a change fee, but does charge the fare difference for changes.

Most travel insurance policies also fail to cover trip cancellations due to the Federal shutdown, but travelers should consult with the insurance carrier and their policies for specific information and guidance.
Horror Story of the Week:

A reminder that the U.S. does not have a monopoly on fee gouging and airport screening ineptitude.  JK wrote to us recently about his nightmare trip:
It all started on 8-Oct in Athens, Greece while checking in 3 pieces of luggage, expecting to pay 50 euros each, I was stunned: 222euros ($300). The worst part is that they broke a wheel off my luggage and the bags never made it with me to my arrival in DFW. Two days later they were delivered to me in 
two (2) deliveries.
While going through London Heathrow 8-Oct, Security punished me for forgetting my 2oz shampoo and Amazon kindle on the carry-on and they took all my stuff out and threw it around like they found a terrorist.
On 25 Sept, when I departed DFW, no search of my carry-on was made. Also when departing Athens, again no search of my carry-on was made.
People were shouting and pleading with the security to hurry up in their search. One woman had her bras and panties spewed all over the filthy stainless steel search counter.
I kept telling them that I had just  45 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 15 minutes to get to the gate for boarding, then finally they made me and many others lose their connecting flights.
It was a short line, not even 10 meters long. I was feeling, ok, I had 1 hour and 30 minutes to departure.  It was not the searching that bothered me, but that I had to wait over an hour in line begging to be searched.
It was obvious that the intentions of security was to go as slow as possible, to cause me to lose my flight by punishing me to send a message that I must never ever leave toiletries again in the carry-on unless they were in the plastic zip-lock baggy. The idiot was opening every item, cameras, cell phones, pouches, pencil case and pushing on the pen springs and turning pages in the two paperbacks I had with me. Even though the bag went through a security x-ray machine.
Items are also missing in my luggage. I am puzzled. How much more could I have been humiliated?
I simply now Refuse to ever fly British again, although I had many good experiences with them since the 90s.
Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights
Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights
FlyersRights will offer premium memberships
for a $10 
monthly (or more) contribution.  
This will grant you direct access to FlyersRights experts to help resolve air travel problems in real time and where necessary referral to legal assistance. 
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.

We welcome your thoughts and opinions.
Email your letters to:
Write to:
4411 Bee Ridge Road
Sarasota, FL 34233

Saturday, October 12, 2013
Past, Present, Future
Soaring Achievements, Enthusiasm for the Future

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Welcome to 'times-past' Tuesday.
Today we'll look back at airline passengers' days of yore, review what FlyersRights has accomplished and layout our blueprint for the future.
We've Come A Long Way Baby
FlyersRights has a short history, founded just seven years ago.
What a year it was - 2006. Airline staff's power had grown to a ridiculous extent since 9/11. Passengers were at a breaking point when Kate Hanni and thousands of others were stranded on tarmacs all over the country.  No food, water, working toilets or medical attention for nearly 10 hours.  
Back then, false imprisonment on the runway was routine. Passengers were too afraid if they spoke up, they would be arrested. The airlines kept us cowed and silent in the name of security.  Pay up, put up and shut up.
The Wild West of Travel
Back then, if you ever were bumped or paid a bag fee and had your bag lost, you were at the mercy of the airline.  If you had to cancel or change a reservation, you were charged an outrageous fee to do it.
Abandoned was passenger safety, comfort and customer service.
The urge to mimic the Police Force and "arrest" someone (generally a person who failed to keep quiet and do what they are told) took over and replaced any semblance of courtesy.  
A Look Back

Prior to the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, air travel times decreased in each decade andreliability improved.  
Since 1978, US airport capacity has not kept pace with increased flight numbers, so skies around major cities such as New York and Chicago have become more and more congested.   

Deregulated airlines have discontinued the use of wide bodied jets carrying up to 500 passengers in favor of more frequent flights with narrow bodied airliners and regional jets carrying 20 to 140 passengers, thereby nullifying increased airport capacity. 
Flight delays of more than one hour have increased dramatically since 1980. 

Turning the Tide
In 2007, it was discovered that passenger strandings and involuntary commitments were far more prevalent than previously thought.  

FlyersRights began aggressively petitioning Congress during this time to pass the first wave of legislation that led to significant consumer protections: May 2008: 
  • "bump fee" doubled from $200 and $400 respectively, to $400 and $800.
October 2008:
  • Tarmac data mandate; airlines must report tarmac data for cancelled, diverted and multiple gate return flights.
December 2009:
  • The 3-Hour Tarmac Rule for domestic flights.
August 2011: 
  • The 4-hour tarmac rule for international flights.
  • Refunds of baggage fees for lost baggage.
  • Flyers bumped from overbooked flights and stuck for hours are entitled to four times their ticket price, up to $1,300, on the spot in cash.
January 2012:
  • Ban on post purchase price fare increase.
  • Ability to hold a ticket for 24 hours without a re-issuing fee.
  • Full Fare advertising: All fare advertising must include base fare plus any mandatory taxes, surcharges and booking fees.
  • Mandatory notification of flight delays every 30 minutes by any available method, including airport overhead announcements, overhead displays, e-mail, phone, text, etc.
  • Airlines are now required to disclose baggage fees online and/or on the phone when making a reservation, and they must make clear where all ancillary fee information can be found prior to booking a ticket.
  • Addition of "tarmac delays"wording to Contract of Carriage.  
Passengers have other protections:
  • Airlines typically provide meals and hotels when travelers are stranded overnight because of an airline problem, though not because of weather or other exceptions.
  • When airlines lose bags, they're on the hook to pay out as much as $3,300 per passenger for domestic trips. (Carriers set the value of possessions lost, however.)

The Future of FlyersRights:
  • Better compensation for passengers for excessive flight delays
Airlines that cancel flights due to too few passengers amounts to breach of contract or fraud.  

If a flight has so few passengers that the airline wants to cancel it, it should do so at least two hours before so passengers do not come to the airport unnecessarily, and provide passengers with alternate transportation within an hour of the canceled flight time plus a ticket refund. 

Otherwise, the airlines should provide passengers with compensation that is equivalent to breach of contract compensation or equivalent to bumping, perhaps capped at several thousand dollars. 

There is presently no meaningful compensation provided to passengers for excessive flight delays.  

Any action brought in state or small claims courts gets transferred to federal courts based on airline claims of federal preemption, where the cost of litigation far exceeds any potential recovery. 
Airlines should be required to tell passengers of their delay compensation rights, which are generally ignored or denied by the airlines.

Passengers should be entitled to ground transportation and overnight accommodations when stranded overnight by airline delays and cancellations. 
  • The come-on for Flight Insurance  
Airlines offer "insurance" for flight or trip cancellation that is deceptive in that such policies fail to cover the overwhelming number of situations, and the coverage excludes inconvenience or consequential damages.  

For example, a passenger whose vacation or business trip is ruined cannot claim for that loss, and generally cannot cancel their trip except in situations of serious illness or death. FlyersRights has received complaints on their toll free hotline of next of kin providing a death certificate and airlines still not providing a refund.
  • Lost and Mishandled Baggage complaints represent the second largest category of airline passenger complaints to the DOT
Over 40,000 checked bags per year are never returned to passengers because they do not have tags.  Instead of looking inside the bags for identifying information, most airlines treat the bags as abandoned property and auction them off with the proceeds going to the airline.

The handling of lost baggage claims is scandalous with the overwhelming majority of claims being rejected and lost baggage sold after 90 days with no attempt to identify or return baggage.
Theft by the airline workers, TSA inspectors and other baggage handlers is aknown problem and one that is covered up by thieves who rip identifying tags off bags that they have looted. 

The DOT should produce a consumer report that "unbundles" mishandled baggage and reports lost, damaged and stolen items separately by airline, and a report on the claims made vs claims paid.
  • Frequent Flyer Fraud
Frequent Flyer programs are a source of revenue for airlines which sell miles to credit card, car rental, hotel and other businesses that seek to provide customers with a low cost inducement to buy customer loyalty. 

Most consumers view frequent flyer programs as an important benefit, with the miles they accumulate for future travel being an obligation of the airline and an asset of theirs. 

But as airlines now fill a higher proportion of their seats than ever before, over sales are increasing. At the same time, the use of non-refundable, non-changeable or highly restricted tickets has decreased the number of no-shows and has allowed the airlines to profit from them. 

Currently it is very hard to predict whether passengers with reservations on increasingly full flights will get a seat. 
  • Enforcement, Remedies and Advocacy
Airline passengers need to enforce their rights in an inexpensive way.  

The system today is totally lacking in accountability and transparency. Complaints to airlines or DOT are generally ignored and compensation claims rejected.  

Flyersrights has asked that complaints get a response in 24 hours and a resolution within 3 weeks or mandating a small claims court process for unresolved consumer claims.
  • Hotline for Airlines
An Airline Passenger Emergency Hotline is sorely needed for passengers faced with stranding and other emergencies.  

Flyersrights has a hotline staffed with volunteers and has received thousands of calls.  But it is overwhelmed and without funding is unlikely to survive.

DOT should be required to contract with one or two non-profit aviation consumer organizations to provide a true airline passenger hotline for about half the funds now devoted to the DOT's ineffective hotline. 
  • Aviation Security complaints
TSA receives approximately 10,000 complaints per year, mostly involving rudeness by TSA personnel and property complaints.  

There are also widely publicized concerns of personal privacy invasions by body searches and health risks involving X-ray screening of passengers, theft and corruption within the TSA.

Diagnosing problems and proposing solutions is one thing, but getting Washington and the airline industry to actually restore quality, hassle free air service is another!

It requires more fuel in FlyersRights tank. A monthly donation of $1 from our 30,000 members would do it.
So in order to maintain and enhance our fundraising base, FlyersRights will offer premium memberships for a $10 monthly (or more) contribution.  
This will grant you direct access to FlyersRights experts to help resolve air travel problems in real time and where necessary referral to legal assistance. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Take This Plane And Shove It
It Ain't Working Here No More

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Norwegian Air has grounded a 787 Dreamliner and demanded Boeing repair the new aircraft.
Norwegian Air and LOT Polish Airlines are fed up with the Dreamliner Nightmare.

Over the weekend Norwegian Air pulled its brand new Dreamliner out of service and demanded Boeing repair the plane after repeated breakdowns.

Norwegian Air CEO Bjorn Kjos has issued an apology to its customers. He told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that the delays and cancellations that have occurred because of technical problems with the Dreamliners are unacceptable and "just so bad."
LOT Polish Airlines SA, which currently operates five Boeing Co. Dreamliners, reported daily losses of $50,000 from the numerous groundings, going back to when its first plane was stranded in Chicago after the inaugural flight. 
Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg

At the same time, LOT Polish Airlines gave Boeing a three month ultimatum and is seeking $30 million in compensation over faults with its 787 aircraft or face court action, the company's chairman told a newspaper last Thursday.    

The last straw for LOT was last Wednesday when the airline was forced to ground all five of its new Dreamliners after discovering low-pressure fuel filters were not in place on the engines of two of the planes. The airlineblamed Boeing for the problem.    

Like an Accident Waiting to Happen

This all smells like a ticking time bomb.  Boeing was the last great hope of manufacturing in America, and now they've completely ruined the image of American manufacturing with this Lemonliner.  Perhaps air carriers can refer to their state's Lemon Law when dealing with Boeing?
The FIAT car brand is sometimes referred to as: Fix It Again Tony. Similarly, many car enthusiasts joke that certain sports cars from certain manufacturers should be followed by a repair truck and mechanic.
Perhaps Boeing should provide backup planes to follow each and every 787 flight to make sure it flies on time, without mechanical failure or incident.
This looks bad for the Dreamliner (marketing must hate that name by now), and yet some are still protective of Boeing, arguing that the 787 is a whole new design with a lot of innovation, and some problems should be expected.

This is no excuse whatsoever.  The 787 has been in service for two years now and these problems should not be expected...or tolerated!  

We're talking about one of the most techologically advanced aircraft in the world.  It should have been ready to fly on delivery, not plagued by a raft of potentially serious faults and oversights that have forced groundings. Boeing delivered a faulty product that cost its customers millions.

What are we waiting for? A plane to drop from the sky?  Fix the damn thing for good.
Government Shutdown:
Thousands of Airline Safety Inspectors Sent Home
(Excerpt from A.P.)  
The FAA is furloughing nearly 3,000 inspectors at the heart of the agency's safety operations because of Congress' federal budget impasse.
The inspectors check to make sure airlines are maintaining their planes safely, conduct inspections at airports of planes and pilots, and visit domestic and foreign repair stations where airlines send planes for major overhauls, among other safety jobs.

Mike Perrone, the union's national president, said he is "outraged that the FAA would consider aviation safety inspectors as playing anything but a pivotal role in protecting the safety of the American public. Furloughing this critical workforce is neither in the best interest of the economy nor the oversight of this country's aviation system."

FAA spokeswoman Kristie Greco declined to confirm the inspector furloughs. She noted that nearly 2,500 safety office personnel will be furloughed, but they may be called back to work incrementally over the next two weeks.
"Many employees will be on call and ready to return to work if necessary," she said.

Read More: GlobalNews
Letters to FlyersRights!
All you do is put out negative news about flying. Not all airlines are horrible. They are in business to make a buck so they are going to charge what they can. You have the freedom choose which company to do business with. Competition is a good thing. Some events, such as weather and mechanical issues, are beyond their control.

I live in Alaska and have a second home in Arizona and I vacation in Hawaii so I fly at least six times a year. I fly Alaska Air because I have found them to be competitive in price and they offer good service. They have a 20 minute baggage guarantee and they usually beat that by half. Alaskans who join the (free) 49er Club get two free bags on flights to, from or within Alaska. When I have had a problem with the airline, which has been rare, they make it right. They have customer service people that really want you to be satisfied.  

I appreciate your support of the flying public and bringing problems to the attention of the government but how about saying something positive when an airline does a good job. Flying is safer than the drive to the airport so they have to be doing a lot of things right.

Anchorage, Alaska

Yes, I agree competition is a good thing and can improve service and lower prices. This was the theory of airline deregulation - that it would make things better than close government regulation.  
But when consolidation and deregulation reach the point that airlines or any necessary public service providers no longer have to compete, service invariably suffers and prices rise.  If one of the four mega airlines (Delta, American/USAirways, United or Southwest) that will soon control 80 - 90% of domestic flights acquired Alaska Airlines, do you think your good experiences would continue?   
As for safety, technology together with safety regulation which was never deregulated has certainly made air travel safer than any time in history.

Paul Hudson
Q. - I am outraged over the excessive fees charged as taxes, fees and surcharges on a ticket that cost $634.00USD.  

The extra that boosted the ticket cost to 950.20 - $316.20 in those fees.

International surcharge $232.  - for what?
US Customs fee - $5.50 - for what?
US Immigration fee - $7.00 - for what?
US APHIS User fee - 5.00 - for what?
UK Passenger Service Charge - $25.30 - for what?
US Passenger facility charge - 4.50 - for what?
9/11 Security fee - $2.50 - for what?
US Federal Transportation Tax - $34.40 - this has been a fixture for years and never seems to be used for Airport maintenance and improvements.


A. - Fees are certainly out of control, both those imposed by airlines and governments.  There should be plain language explanations and the US DOT, UK and EU need to take an especially hard look at UK and EU fees being imposed on transatlantic travel, as these costs are hurting the tourist and travel industry in Europe and the US which worldwide provides one ofevery 11 jobs.    

Paul Hudson

Q. - I know the airlines are charging us extra over the ticket, but what is wrong with it? If I go the the theater buy a couple of tickets to a show, I get a service charge even if I pick them up and a parking charge of $5 per ticket even if the theater has an open parking lot. Also, if I take my car in for service, I often get a shop fee added to the bill. So there are many businesses who charge extra fees to make revenue, so why not the airlines? I am just making the point even though I really don't like it and think it is gouging. 

Out of curiosity, is Flyer's Rights organization now operating out of Sarasota totally? 

Longboat Key, FL

A. - Extra charges are making "air fares" unfair in two ways:  by deceptively pretending the cost of air travel is less than it really is, and by imposing excessive fees that are far in excess of the service and constitute price gouging.
And should the IATA unified personalized price quoting system be adopted, anonymous price shopping would become a thing of the past, as airlines could charge not fixed declared rates but prices based on the perceived wealth and motivation of the customer to travel. 

Banks must quote the Annual Percentage Rate on their interest rates including all fees and gimmicks.  Gas stations are required to conspicuously post the cost per gallon so the customer can see it before he pulls in and fills up.  And price gouging for gasoline and other necessities at times of storms or other emergencies is generally outlawed. 

The US DOT still has the broad mandate to prevent and prohibit "deceptive or unfair" airline practices.  FRO now believes that this power needs to be exercised, lest the air travel industrybecomes a fee fire zone that leads to worse and worse abuses."

FlyersRights is truly a national organization with its administrative location in Sarasota, an office in Washington DC, and also a presence in San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix, Chicago, New York and Dallas.

Paul Hudson
FlyersRights Congressional Update:

FlyersRights has now briefed the staffs of the Senate and House Aviation Subcommittees as well as the Transportation Security Subcommittee on needed reforms.  

Meetings will continue over the next several weeks.  

Paul Hudson, FlyersRights' President has also set forth FlyersRights' priorities to the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee in September, and on October 8th will make a presentation to the Department of Transportation's Advisory Committee on Aviation Consumer Protection.    

It is essential that FlyersRights members keep contacting their representatives in Congress to Ring their Bell for Airline Passenger Rights and ask that they meet with FlyersRights representatives in Washington or in their Districts. 

The following members of Congress have previously supported airline passenger rights legislation in some form and should be encouraged to do so again with FlyersRights support:

(click on name to go to their website!)

House of Representatives: 
Mike Thompson (CA)Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX)Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Mike Rogers (AL)Rand Paul (R-KY) 
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)Susan Collins (R-ME)
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)Diane Feinstein (D-CA)
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
George Miller (D-CA)
Patrick Tiberi (R-OH)
John Dingell (D-MI)
Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) 
Keith Ellison (D-MN) 
Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
Sam Farr (D-CA) 
Mike Honda (D-CA)
Mike McIntyre (D-NC)
Jim Moran (D-VA)
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) 
Brad Sherman (D-CA) 
Lee Terry (R-NE) 
Ted Poe (R-TX) 
Dennis Ross (R-FL) 
Bill Posey (R-FL) 
John Duncan (R-TN)
Steve Pearce (R-NM)

Congress is facing many vexing, controversial issues in 2013. However, airline passenger rights are NOT among them. 

Passenger rights are popular, straight forward with no significant impact on the federal budget.  They should be a no brainer for Congress members to support, particularly in the upcoming 2014 election year.  

The record of this Congress in enacting any significant legislation is one of the worst on record, as partisan bickering blocks nearly everything.  Members of Congress are (and should be) nervous about facing voters with such a record.  

Fixing air travel problems could be a rare positive achievement in an otherwise bleak and paralyzed government scene. Congress now has approval ratings in single digits, lower than airlines, the TSA, and far below that of such perennial favorites as used car salesmen.  

A formal legislative program will be announced in November, prior to the holiday travel season.  

But the success of such citizen legislation is wholly dependent on Congress knowing, a) that it has wide public support, and b) that voters are watching.  

Only this can balance airline campaign checks and its usual unyielding opposition to all consumer protection and passenger rights, as well as blunt a renewed push by airlines to weaken or wipe out existing rights such as the 3 hour rule and the 24 hour cancel without penalty rule. 

Do not wait! No one else will do it for you if you do not.  Pick up the phone TODAY and call your member of Congress and two Senators at 202-224-3121.  Or write them a letter with a copy to us.  This is much easier and less time consuming than getting through to an airline.  

Ask for a meeting in the next month with members and officers.  You are their constituents, they work for you.  Meetings can be in Washington or in their home state.  FlyersRights has the expertise to back you up.  Appointments can be coordinated or questions answered by emailing: 

This can be done, but only you can make it happen!
(Excerpt from the A.P.) 
In this July 8, 2013 file photo, an unidentified family member of one of two Chinese students killed in a crash of an Asiana Airlines' plane on Saturday, cries at the airline's counter at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China. In the first investigation of its kind, federal transportation officials are reviewing whether Asiana Airlines failed to meet legal obligations to help the families of passengers after one of its planes crashed at San Francisco International Airport, killing three people. Under U.S. law, Asiana was required to provide a range of services to family members of the 291 passengers, from the prompt posting of a toll-free number to gather and distribute information, to providing transportation and lodging so family members can comfort injured loved ones. Photo: Eugene Hoshiko

Federal transportation officials are investigating whether Asiana Airlines failed to meet legal obligations to help the families of passengers whose flight crash landed at San Francisco International Airport.

Under U.S. law, Asiana was required to provide a range of services to family members of the 291 passengers. Among them: the prompt posting of a toll-free number to gather and distribute information, and providing transportation and lodging so family members could comfort injured loved ones.

After the July 6 crash, problems with Asiana's response were almost immediately apparent.
A review by the AP of Asiana's family assistance plan showed the airline did not meet several important assurances, including that it would keep its emergency contact information current and post a public information number within an hour.
The first record AP found of a publicly circulated number was just over three hours after the crash, but that was to an automated Asiana reservations line. The following day, the airline posted a different number, which it then changed several days later.

"Imagine the panic of a family member who realizes their loved one was on Asiana calling each hospital, calling the airport, calling anyone they can," said Robert A. Jensen, CEO of Kenyon International Emergency Services, which has contracts with hundreds of airlines to help after a crash.

Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Mosley said that two hours after the crash, the agency contacted Asiana's attorney, "reminding the carrier of its family assistance obligations, and in particular of the need for the required telephone line."

Airlines face up to a $27,500 penalty for each family assistance law violation.
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!

Donate Button