Last updated: 02:53 PM ET, Wed August 17 2016

Congress Flunks When It Comes To Airline Report Card

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | August 17, 2016

Congress Flunks When It Comes To Airline Report Card

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

If airline passenger rights is big on your agenda when you vote in November, you might want to see this.

FlyersRights, the largest U.S.-based airline passenger advocacy group, has conducted a report card of all 535 members of Congress regarding their efforts to protect airline passenger rights over the last eight years.

According to the group, the results were miserable.

Out of a possible 100+ points spread across 10 different categories, not a single U.S. lawmaker scored more than 25 points nor was a single congressman given a corresponding letter grade higher than a B.

Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights and a member of the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, said the results came as “no surprise.”

FlyersRights used the following 10 categories and point possibilities to determine the final scoring:

• Total money accepted from airline industry over the last eight years (3 points maximum)

• Did staff agree to meet on passenger rights? (1 point maximum)

• Were staff supportive of passenger rights (1 point maximum)

• Votes in favor of passenger rights (5 points maximum)

• Bills sponsored advocating passenger rights (60 points maximum)

• Bills co-sponsored advocating passenger rights (24 points maximum)

• Member spoke in favor or against passenger rights (Pro: 4 points maximum; Con: -4 points maximum)

• Laws enacted but not fully implemented (-.5 to -1 point maximum)

• Inclusion of passenger representatives in hearings (.5 points to .25 points, maximum)

• Sponsor APBOR 2.0 (10 points maximum)

• Letter to TSA Administrator Pistole against allowing small knives on planes (maximum 2 points)

The entire report card can be viewed here, and only New York Sen. Charles Schumer and California Rep. Mike Thompson scored the highest, accumulating 17 and 25 points, respectively.

Five congressional members received failing grades, including  Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Bill Schuster (R-Penn.), and Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Thune (R-S.D.).

In a statement to the newsletter ETN Rush, Hudson said "It is important for the public and voters to be aware of and hold members of congress accountable for their slow responses and downright refusal to address the frustrations of airline passengers. This includes deteriorating service, ever shrinking airline seats, mounting ancillary fees, refusal to provide information and rights needed to hold airlines and TSA accountable for long delays, lost baggage and other consumer abuses."

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