Lake County News: Thompson introduces legislation to protect airline passengers

May 20, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) has introduced the Airline Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 5291), legislation to strengthen consumer protections and improve travel experience for airline passengers.

 “Everyone has a right to be treated decently and fairly while on a plane or in an airport, even when unforeseen complications arise,” said Thompson. “While we have made progress on issues like extended tarmac delays, passengers are still dealing with shrinking seats and growing fees. This legislation will build on the progress we’ve made to ensure that every passenger is treated fairly when they fly.”

Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights, said “FlyersRights commends Congressman Mike Thompson for introducing significant aviation consumer protection legislation. While much more is needed, this legislation addresses the most pressing issue for airline passengers: the urgent need to stop airlines from shrinking passenger space without limit regardless of health, safety and comfort. By formally refusing to set minimum seat standards in February, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given a green light to a new round of passenger space reductions. Unless Congress acts to stop overcrowding, which it last did in 1855 and 1819 for ships, airline passengers will soon be subject to uncomfortable and potentially dangerous conditions on US domestic routes.”

 The Airline Consumer Protection Act will:

 – Freeze reductions in seat size until the FAA establishes minimum size, padding, leg room, and aisle width to protect passenger safety, health, and comfort;
– Increase transparency in ancillary fees and seat assignment policies; and
– Improve awareness of, and access to, aviation consumer protection information and complaint processes.

Thompson previously introduced the Air Passenger Bill of Rights, legislation that required air carriers to provide adequate food, water, temperature controls, ventilation, and working toilets during excessive delays, and offer passengers the option to deplane after three or more hours on the ground.

 Provisions of this legislation were signed into law as a part of FAA legislation in 2012.

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