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A Seat At The Table

Stop the race to the bottom.
That was the message at a press conference held on Monday by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal.
Support for humane airline seating is gaining momentum.
Sen. Blumenthal is the latest to join New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen in demanding the Federal Aviation Administration regulate seat sizes and leg room on commercial airlines. 

Blumenthal, Schumer and Cohen are attaching an amendment to the FAA’s reauthorization bill calling for standard seat space minimums to defend the safety and health of passengers.

The clock is ticking for Congress to pass legislation authorizing the FAA. Funding runs out March 31, 2016.

For years the incredible shrinking airline seat has been one of the top complaints at FlyersRights, and another clear case of the industry abusing its market power to the detriment of the American people.

Air travel in this country is neither a privilege nor a luxury.  In 2016 it’s an essential mode of transport and service for the public; the efficient functioning of today’s society; and the economy.  Flying is often times unavoidable and the only practical method of getting from one place to another.
FlyersRights has called on the FAA to require that minimum seat standards for economy seating  accommodate 90% of passengers without any additional charges and that seating be provided for the highest 10% by size at a reasonable proportional additional charge.  
Instead, without regulation, airlines have reduced seat size to the point that the average male passenger’s shoulders are wider than the seat and passengers over 6’2″ or 240 lbs. can no longer fit in economy seats without intruding on their seatmate’s space or the aisle . See Regulations.gov  Flyersrights.org  Petition for Rulemaking: Limitation Of Seat Size Reduction FAA-2015-4011 .

It’s wrong to call a transportation oligopoly which provides an essential service a “free market.” In such a situation, the customer cannot vote with their wallet. Instead, they must take what there is, and choose between lesser evils.

The airlines have become accustomed to constant overreach in the quest for higher profits at all costs. If businesses show they  cannot be trusted to regulate themselves, it needs to fall to the government to do it for them .

Mad? A good way to unleash your anger is by contacting your congressmember and/or senator – http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/#listrep – via email or phone.
Tell them flying has become miserable, sardine seating is a big problem and something needs to be done! Your constituent complaint will get tallied and passed along to the Member.

Your Letters!
Dear FlyersRights:
I just learned of  FlyersRights.org  through a NY Times article republished in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser today.
I have signed petitions.
Nowhere in the web site do I see a place to pose this question: What about sponsoring a National Do Not Fly Day, several times a year, or even monthly?
If hundreds of thousands of flying passengers did not fly on a designated Wednesday, or other day, money-hungry airline CEOs would likely take notice.
Do it twice and we may well see immediate changes made; and, keep the National Day a threat.  A great amount of airline travel is discretionary.
I have currently stopped flying: I just cannot face the bruising and discomfort incurred in the tiny, cramped seats.  I believe many arrogant, and ignorant, passengers are also to blame.  Those are the ones that make flight attendants’ jobs hell.  When I stopped flying, I had to give up my job:   Surprise retirement.  However, all the planned renewal of national and international travel is now “zero.”   –premium-priced “comfort seats” sell out fast, or are cancelled with no notice (and, no refund of the higher ticket price without a fight).  I believe the buck stops with the multi-million dollar CEO salaries (and, they fly on private jets, not commercial!).
Thank you/ Mahalo.
J.O.
Interesting idea. Others have mentioned this too. But concerns include failure of many boycotts and the resources needed to mount such a campaign.

Any that you  know that successfully changed corporate behavior? 

Regards, 
Paul Hudson
President
Flyersrights.org
Dear FlyersRights:
Going back a ways, a boycott/strike here in Hawaii busted the behavior of the Big Five.
The lettuce boycott of Cesar Chavez, the bus boycott of the 50s.
Most recently some of the university boycotts.
Actually, I understand that most successful campaigns now are via social media.  Arab Spring, even, was started and fueled in social media.  Governments all over are monitoring or shutting down social media lines.
Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. naming a future first date, such as “November 30, 2016: First Do Not Fly Day” gives the public time to work around that date. Additionally, the news media has time to pick it up and have articles and sound bites spaced during the preceding months; this also gives the airlines time to clean up.   
Then, list dates in the succeeding months that would be Do Not Fly and build on the social media without let up.   Any noticeable drop in ticket sales will hit home.  I have seen (in coupon ads) that the momentum builds.  
A good percentage of use the first run, then the second or third run: Bam! Deluge.   Farmers’ Markets, Food truck fairs, Raves, fairs, whatever, pop in numbers and attendance after the first event day.  Listing the event as a repeat event will build momentum.
College marketing students, high school students could anchor the campaign, at no cost.  I think Obama’s social media blitz was college-based.  If there is a central “hub” where students sit and set

up a blitz, or anyone, pizza is a strong and cheap-enough fuel.   I have heard stories that the major strike/boycott back in the 40s in Hawaii was fueled with beef stew and rice and poi.  Not much of it, but just that it’s there.
J.O.

Interesting stuff , as I recall the UAW had good luck by targeting one auto maker at a time rather than all at once.
Perhaps the worst offender or worst model seat configuration.
Would you be willing to volunteer to help with this? FlyersRights runs almost entirely on volunteers. 
Regards, 
Paul
Dear FlyersRights members!
We are looking for volunteers to help coordinate a “No Seat Space, No Fly” campaign to boycott the airlines that refuse to stop shrinking seats and leg room.
FlyersRights will write to each airline CEO asking they pledge a voluntary moratorium on further reductions till Congress or the FAA acts to set minimum standards.
Please reply to this email or write to Paul@FlyersRights.org. 
Thank you!

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We want your comments and photos! Got pics of seats with no space, long lines at check-in, TSA etc.? Send  to the newsletter editor:  kendallc@FlyersRights.org, or @KendallFlyers

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