PHOTO: Do passengers deserve protections when flying? (Photo via Flickr/ Reinis Traidas)
If anything good could come out of the United Airlines passenger debacle, it’s that it shines an intense spotlight onto the way passengers are treated when flying. Many are weighing in with their thoughts and opinions and the American Society of Travel Agents is calling for action.
“We believe the rights of the traveling public and airline passenger protection must be at the forefront of any regulatory system governing the airline industry,” said ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby in a statement. “While ASTA has supported past initiatives to protect consumers and increase airline competition in Congress and at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), this disturbing incident should tell us loud and clear that more needs to be done.”
ASTA praises the DOT for taking action on the incident and is hoping that the results of the DOT’s review will lead to further steps being taken to preventing incidents such as this from occurring again.
“We are heartened that DOT is reviewing the particulars of the situation, and believe that it should be a catalyst for both the Department and Congress to take the necessary steps to beef up passenger rights,” said Kerby.
He notes that the timing is right since the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill is up for renewal and has a list of items that should be included to protect passengers.
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“Issues we believe should be on the table include increased protections for overbooked and bumped passengers, a review of the impacts of airline consolidation, transparency in airline pricing including ancillary fees and airline immunity from state consumer protection laws,” said Kerby. “We look forward to working with all policymakers toward crafting an airline regulatory system wherein the passenger comes first.”