Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights and AFA-CWA Join To Urge Congress to Enact Aviation Policy Reform
June 5, 2007
Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights (CAPBOR)
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA)
Washington, DC - The leading airline passenger rights group and the world's largest flight attendant union have joined together to urge Congress to address serious flaws in current aviation policy.
"Passengers are continually frustrated at airline management's inability to handle long ground delays and are therefore urging Congress to pass the Passenger Bill of Rights," said Kate Hanni, CAPBOR President. "Airlines have repeatedly failed to provide Congress with any sort of deplanement plan, despite a call from several prominent leaders. This arrogant attempt to circumvent Congressional requests is just another example of how airlines continue to leave passenger rights on the ground."
"A Passenger Bill of Rights will be an empty promise until Congress enacts serious aviation policy reforms such as substantial investments to update and upgrade our air traffic control system; increases in funding for Airport Improvement Projects (AIPs); a carry-on baggage policy that applies to every airline and every flight; ensuring Essential Air Service (EAS) to small communities; improving cabin air quality for crewmembers and passengers; and providing a safe working environment on board aircraft for flight attendants," said Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President.
Recently, United Airlines revealed its "new policy" to handle long ground delays, which describes extraordinary delays as "flights of note."
"To trivialize both the passengers and the crew on flights held up to 11 hours in deplorable conditions, by calling these horrific flights 'flights of note', is absurd. Management took 'flights of notoriety' and minimized them as 'flights of note' and it struck the wrong chord!" said Hanni.
"For far too long airline executives have dictated federal aviation policy resulting in passengers and aviation employees having to take a back seat," added Friend. "Congress and consumers may want a Passenger Bill of Rights, but management has to ultimately enforce the law and airline executives have historically shown that customer service is a convenience for them if it does not impact the bottom line. A Passenger Bill of Rights may set high expectations for passengers and when airline management drops the ball, flight attendants will bear the burden."
CAPBOR (www.flyersrights.org) has 15,120 supporters. It was founded by Hanni and hundreds of other passengers who were stranded on several American Airlines planes for up to nine hours at Austin International Airport, December 2006.
For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill. More than 55,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, the world's largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afanet.org.