U.S. Senators Introduce Bill of Rights for Airline Passengers

by Daine Taylor
U.S. Senators Introduce Bill of Rights for Airline Passengers

A group of U.S. Senators have introduced legislation to expand protections for American air travelers. Photo: Shutterstock.com

A group of U.S. senators have partnered to introduce the Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights, which comprises comprehensive legislation that would expand protections for American air travelers. 

The bill — written by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., along with Sens. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. — was introduced in the Senate last week, just days after Canada passed a similar bill that protects airline passengers.

The Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights will require airlines to pay at least $1,350 to passengers denied boarding due to an oversold flight; prevents airlines from shrinking their seats until a minimum standard size is set by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT); and requires that airlines immediately refund bag fees for damaged or lost bags.

“Excessive and unexpected fees, delays and cancellations, overbooked planes — almost everyone who has flown has experienced the need for an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights,” said Sen. Wyden. “For too long, the FAA has knuckled under to the airline industry. It’s time to stand up for the rights of all air passengers and against excessive airline fees by ensuring ironclad consumer protections for air travel.”

The Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights would protect air travelers with the following nine provisions: providing compensation for involuntary denied boarding; stopping airlines from endangering safety by shrinking seats; bolstering the transparency of passengers’ rights; requiring airlines to refund tickets and compensate passengers for delays and cancellations caused by the airlines; protecting basic humanity on planes; grounding sky-high, nickel-and-dime fees; restoring consumers’ rights to pursue claims against airlines; bolstering the DOT’s enforcement against the airline industry; and addressing lack of meaningful competition in the airline industry. 

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