There is no escaping the “David vs Goliath” comparison, between the airlines’ powerful lobbying group and the dogged advocates for consumer protection.
Now airline seat space is a hot topic in Washington.
For years FlyersRights has been hammering home the negative affects of cramped seating on safety and health, and finally we could be seeing a tipping point. People are ‘mad as hell and not gonna take anymore.’
Back in early February, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-TN introduced the ‘Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act’ in an attempt to direct the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish minimum seat size standards.
But the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster, R-PA, urged his members to vote against the amendment – and almost every member of his party did. The amendment was defeated.
Unsurprisingly, the airline PACs are Rep. Shuster’s largest supply of reelection funding, with donations from the leading US airlines – American, Alaskan, Continental, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, and Southwest. Airline PACs have given $92,000 to Rep. Shuster this cycle.
But taking up the cause are US Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), also filing an amendment to the FAA’s reauthorization bill that adopted Rep. Cohen’s same minimum seat space standards to “protect the health and safety of passengers.” It is currently pending before Congress.
Not to be undone, last week we saw a spectacularly named ‘Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act‘ by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and again Richard Blumenthal, which would limit charges for checked bags, ticket changes and cancellations.
FlyersRights President Paul Hudson remarked, “A few bills have been introduced by Democrats but none by Republicans, who are in the majority in Congress and nothing by the Obama Administration that has a record under Anthony Foxx and Michael Huerta of ignoring or rejecting nearly all consumer measures, refusing to fund the aviation consumer hotline passed in 2012, blocking airline competition, foot dragging on safety measures and generally doing whatever the industry demands.”
Air passenger rights concerns practically every citizen of the United States.