National Consumers League

National Consumers League statement on Senate passage of FAA Reauthorization Bill

October 4, 2018

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC--Yesterday’s vote by Congress to send the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill to President Trump’s desk represents a missed opportunity to address the lack of competition and rampant abuse of add-on fees by the nation’s biggest airlines, said the National Consumers League. The inclusion of some new consumer protections in the bill particularly the prohibition on involuntary bumping and minimum seat size standards, promises to improve consumers’ experience in the air. However, the omission of the bipartisan FAIR Fees Act language in the bill, a provision that would have helped consumers who are being gouged to the tune of $2.9 billion a year, will hurt consumers for years to come. Congress’ inaction on the FAIR Fees Act is a significant setback for the flying public.

The following statement is attributable to NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

“The FAA Reauthorization Act will not protect consumers from unreasonable change and cancelation fees as we had hoped. However, it can protect consumers from shrinking seat sizes that hamper evacuations and contribute to deep vein thrombosis.

"Much of the advocacy around airline consumer protection will now turn to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the FAA, which, as a result of this bill, will craft rules on issues such as minimum seat size standards, involuntary bumping, consumer complaint handling, and fee refunds. We urge Chairman Chao and Acting Administrator Elwell to listen to consumers, not just the legions of airlines lobbyists as it begins these important rulemaking proceedings.”

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.