FlyersRight.org Attacks Airlines for Opposing "Families Flying Together”
By James Shillinglaw
July 16, 2012 10:21 PM
FlyersRights.com, the airline consumer advocacy group, is criticizing Airlines for America (AFA), which represents the major U.S. airlines, for openly attacking the "Families Flying Together Act of 2012," as written by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). The bill would require families to be seated together on flights. AFA claims that this new bill is "needless" and that the airlines’ new fee system for aisle and window seats offers passengers more choice.
"FlyersRights.org is receiving dozens of complaints, not only from families disassociated from their babies due to the increased cost of aisle and window seats, but from business travelers,” said Kate Hanni, executive director for FlyersRights.org. “These business travelers are being seated next to unaccompanied infants and toddlers, the most vulnerable air travelers. This, as you can imagine, creates all kinds of issues. We cannot imagine a more family unfriendly environment than the one created by this new set of fees for aisle and window seats. Imagine being a business traveler and sitting in a 'coveted' aisle seat next to a two-year-old who is ill, or screaming because they need a diaper change. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize this won't work. When you have bean counters making customer service decisions, you see a lack of common sense decisions and that's what we are seeing now."
Hanni said the unbundling of ancillary, or “hidden fees,” have gotten to the point where no one can estimate the cost of air travel with any reasonable certainty. “Now, this added stressor for families forces them to decide whether to drive or to find alternative transportation to their destinations,” she said. "I think airline passengers are asking themselves what's next in the area of hidden fees. Oxygen? A seat belt? Pay to potty? Stand up seating? It appears that everything is on the table."
FlyersRights.org said it strongly supports Representative Nadler's bill and hopes that Congress takes a long, hard look at re-regulating the most fundamental aspects of air travel so as to protect families from the anti-family decisions of the airlines.