FlyersRights.org
Airline Passenger 
Bill of Rights 2.0

15 Airlines Warned About Ice forming on Engines of Dreamliner

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

FlyersRights is proud to announce our Passenger Bill of Rights 2.0
 
Please email your comments,(
globetrotter1947[at]hotmail[dot]com), over the next 10 days (by Dec. 10th). 
 
We will be presenting the final version to Congress and DOT the week of Dec. 15th.

Below is the condensed version, (read it in full here). 
  

Traveler Delay Avoidance & Mitigation

 

1)  Reinstate the reciprocity rule allowing passengers on canceled or delayed flights (over 90 minutes) to use their tickets on another airline with available seating flying to the same or nearby destination.

 

Current situation:  Most airlines do not have an arrangement with other airlines to take their delayed passengers. The rule would reward airlines that provide timely service and penalize those that do not, as well as maximize the efficiency of the entire air transportation system.  Now the opposite is true.

 

2)  Set a minimum fine of $3,000 per passenger for tarmac delays in violation of the 3-hour rule.  Of that, $1,000 will be paid to affected passenger plus $10 per minute for delays over 3 hours.

 

Current situation:  Most airline violations of the 3-hour rule are not fined by DOT, or fined less than $1,000 per passenger (vs the maximum fine of $27,500 per passenger).  

 

3)  Require airlines to conduct live testing of emergency or irregular operation plans at least annually or more frequently for airlines that fail practice tests or actual emergency operation performance standards.

 

Current situation:  Airlines are required to have emergency operation plans but not to have actually tested or practiced or trained their employees to execute them.

 

4)  Reinstate legislation requiring airlines to honor tickets of other airlines shut down by insolvency.

 

Current situation:  Larger carriers who face insolvency declare chapter 11 bankruptcy that allows them to continue operating. But smaller ones shut down operations, sometimes abruptly leaving ticket holders with disruption and extra travel expenses.     

 

5)  Require airlines to maintain a reserve of equipment and flight crews.

 

Current situation: Most airlines operate with little or no reserve capacity. When equipment breaks down or crews are unavailable, flights are canceled or seriously delayed.  This situation is aggravated by the fact that airlines are operating at record capacity of over 80%, so that a canceled flight means that passengers may have to wait many hours or even several days to get on another flight to their destination.   

 

6)  Set minimum fines of $1,000 per passenger with � paid to affected passengers for cancellations due to false claims of force majeure (e.g. weather or air traffic  control restrictions, when the real reason is lack of equipment or personnel or for too few passengers).

 

Current situation: There is a very high rate of fraudulent "acts of god" reporting by airlines. They are rarely fined and passengers receive no compensation. 

 

7)  Require cancellation for economic reasons to be made at least 3 hours before flight time, and provide passengers with alternate transportation plus a ticket refund, or breach of contract consequential damages up to $5,000.   

 

Current situation:  Airlines are required by the FAA to provide safe and convenient air transportation to the general public.  Economic flight cancellations amount to a breach of contract or civil fraud and/or violation of their certificate, but enforcement is virtually nonexistent.

 

8)  Require passengers to be informed both verbally and in writing of their rights to compensation for flight delays under US law for domestic flights.

 

Current situation: Neither the airlines or DOT inform passengers of their rights to compensation for flight except in situations involving bumping or oversales.

 

9)  Require that stranded passengers receive meals, lodging and ground transportation.

 

Current situation:  Once a matter of course, but now many airlines decline to provide these services, except for high paying or frequent travelers.  

 

Lost, Damaged and Mishandled Baggage

 

1)  Require airlines follow standards to return lost unclaimed baggage. After 90 days property is sold at auction with proceeds going to a Lost Baggage Fund, and used to fund consumer protection services.

 

Current situation: Airlines now sell unclaimed baggage after a short holding time and keep the proceeds. They generally dispute lost baggage claims and passengers have no means of redress.

 

2)  Require airlines to offer excess value insurance for lost or damaged baggage.

 

Current situation:  Airlines do not sell baggage insurance, and do not allow passengers to declare higher value than liability limits.  USPS, UPS and Federal Express charge 1% of excess declared value for insurance.

 

Lack of insurance, low liability limits and low claim payment rates make for low quality checked baggage service and no security against theft.  

Yet airlines now charge $25 to over $100 per bag for checked luggage.

 

Frequent Flier Programs Standards

 

1)  Require airlines to report statistics on their frequent flier programs for customers to evaluate each airline program, including the number of miles expired, used and accumulated unused each quarter, the number of award tickets granted especially to popular vacation destinations, restrictions on transfer or used by persons or entities other than the frequent flyer account holder.

 

2)  Require notice of 12 months to reduce or devalue benefits to existing frequent flier account holder members of over one year.

 

Current situation: Frequent flier programs are a source of revenue for airlines which sell miles to credit card, car rental, hotel and other businesses that seek to provide customers with a low cost inducement to buy customer loyalty. 

 

Airlines take the position that these are not binding contractual obligations, but merely marketing programs that can be altered or eliminated at will.   

 

As miles accumulate on the books of an airline, there is an enormous incentive for the airline to devalue them by program changes (most recently United Airlines announced program changes that devalue its frequent flier miles by at least 40%).

 

Airline Rights Enforcement

 

1)  A 24-hour complaint hotline provided for in 2012 law and a passenger claims arbitration service should be funded up to $10 million per year by a set aside of 10% of fines paid by airlines to the US Government for violation of DOT or FAA regulations, plus up to 1/1000 of the ticket taxes and facility charges paid by airline passengers.  No funding is currently provided for the passenger hotline and it has not been established by DOT.

 

Current situation:  Only 10% of complaints to DOT result in a referral for additional investigation, 90% are merely logged for statistical purposes.  Airlines are not required to do more than respond and acknowledge complaints.

Airlines are one of a very few industries serving the general public exempt from all state and local consumer protection laws, based on judicial interpretations of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978's federal preemption clause.

2) Complaints against airlines and TSA shall be acknowledged within 24 hours, responded to within 30 days and allowing a reply by the passenger within 30 days.   

 

3)  All contracts of carriage will outline passenger rights to claims under $10,000.

 

4)  In the event that court or arbitration awards an amount in excess of the amount offered by the airline, the passenger shall be entitled to an additional amount for litigation expenses.

 

5) Airlines' contract of carriage shall follow common law doctrines regarding voiding provisions in consumer contracts.

 

6) All airline passenger claims under $80,000 against airlines shall be adjudicated in state or local courts.

 

7) Consumer claims with more than 50 claimants and with total damage claims of under $15 million may be brought in state courts and may not be removed to US District court without the consent of all parties to the litigation. 

 

8) Airlines that remove passenger lawsuits from state courts that are then remanded back to state courts by US District Courts shall be obligated to pay plaintiff's attorney fees.

 

Interpretation of Fees, Service, Airfare, Seat and Space Standards

 

1) "Airfare" will mean the price including all taxes and fees for a seat, one carry-on, one personal item, plus one piece of checked baggage.  It also includes water, adequate food nutrition on flights lasting over 2 hours, toilet and washing facilities.

 

Current situation: Airlines have reduced "airfare" to a meaningless base price that leads to deceptive advertising.   

 

Bank interest rates, gasoline prices and octane ratings, hotel room rates must meet disclosure standards. This enables consumers to price shop and prevents deceptive price advertising, price confusion, and unfair competition.

 

2)  Fees not included in the airfare must be disclosed in advance of ticket purchase.

 

Current situation:  Airlines have resisted disclosing their fees to third party ticket sellers making price shopping by consumers difficult.  

 

3)  Fees not included in airfare shall not be exorbitant.

 

Current situation:  The DOT has the authority to prohibit "unfair or deceptive" airline practices but has never done so to rein in airline fees.

 

4)  Fees over $50 shall be subject to taxes the same as airfares.

 

Current situation: Airline fees are not taxed. This tax loophole for airline fees will drain the aviation transportation trust fund.

 

5)  "Service" means air transportation from point A to point B. It does not include things that an airline does or fails to do in the course of its operations.

 

Current situation: Airlines are broadly interpreting "service" to include all things an airline does in the course of its operations. This has given immunity for violation of all state and local consumer protection and contract law doctrines and laws, health and safety statutes, and all common law torts.  

 

6) "Force Majeure" or "Acts of God" in the contracts of carriage do not include lack of airline personnel or aircraft in airworthy condition, supplies or other conditions reasonably within the control of an airline.

 

Current situation:  Airlines are redefining "acts of god" to free themselves of normal breach of contract for matters that are within their control such as maintenance and crew availability.

 

 7)  The FAA shall issue minimum standards for seat width, padding, reclining, size, pitch, leg room.  

 

Current situation:  There are no seat or passenger space regulations.   

 

Airlines are reducing seat, passenger space and adding more seats, charging extra for what had previously been standard seat space, to the point that passengers are loudly complaining and health and safety is threatened.   

 

Passengers have grown heavier and older in the past 50 years, while seat sizes have shrunk and without standards will shrink even more.

 

Conclusion 

 

Much more is needed to improve air transportation service and consumer protection in a concentrated airline industry. 

 

 

Fifteen Airlines Warned About Ice on Engines of

 Dreamliners

  • Airlines told to avoid high-level thunderstorms that may produce ice crystals
  • Ice could affect 747-8 and 787 planes powered by GE  
  • Japan Airlines has pulled Dreamliners from two international routes
On Friday Boeing alerted airlines about engine icing problems on some of its new planes.
It was advised that planes
with a specific General Electric engine avoid flying near thunderstorms that might contain ice crystals.

This latest warning comes after six powered by GE's GEnx - five 747-8s and one 787 - suffered temporary loss of thrust while flying at high altitude from April to November this year.

The problem was caused by a build-up of ice crystals which spread through the engine.

 

FlyersRights petitioned the DOT and FAA seven months ago to reduce the maximum distance to landing zones from 3 hours to 2 hours until the 787 has demonstrated two years of trouble free operations, as has been required of other new airliner designs. 

 

Read More: Reuters 

PAST DREAMLINER PROBLEMS:

July 28 2012: A fan shaft fails during runway tests in South Carolina

December 2012: A Dreamliner was forced to make an emergency landing in New Orleans

January 7 2013: An unoccupied Dreamliner flight bursts into flames at Boston airport

January 15 2013: A flight made an emergency landing in Japan after a smoke alarm went off. The string of incidents led to regulators ordering a global grounding of the entire Dreamliner fleet, which lasted for four months

June 2 2013: Battery-related problems were reported on a Japan Airlines aircraft forcing the airline to use an alternative plane

June 12 2013: A flight in Japan was cancelled after one of the engines failed to start

June 18 2013: A United Airlines flight was diverted to Seattle due to an oil-filter problem

June 24 2013: A Dreamliner operated by United Airlines had to make an emergency landing in Denver due to a brake problem

July 3 2013: Polish airline LOT cancelled a Dreamliner flight to Chicago because the aircraft had 'problems with the power supply'

July 12 2013: Ethiopian Airlines plane catches fire on the runway at Heathrow, forcing the closure of the whole airport

July 18 2013: Japan Airlines plane bound for Tokyo had to return to Boston's Logan airport after take-off because of a possible issue with the fuel pumps

November 2013: Japan Airlines pulls 787s from two international routes amid concerns about ice forming on the planes

 
 

Kate Hanni, who gave six years of her life to airline passengers rights and her husband Tim Hanni, Master of Wine have been asked to present an audition tape and application to "The Amazing Race".  

 

If they win the $1,000,000 prize they will give a handsome donation to FlyersRights which would help secure FlyersRights.org into the future. 

 

Kate and Tim are very recent empty-nesters and they really want to get chosen to compete in the Amazing Race. Please watch the video and have your friends watch it and "like" it with a thumbs up to show the producers that they have the public's support to be on the show! 

 




Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights

Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights
Please consider an "end of the year" tax write-off donation to our 501(c)3

 

Founded by Kate Hanni in 2007, FlyersRights
 is funded completely through donations and our Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) charity, to which contributions are tax deductible.
 
Thank you. 

 

Or:

FlyersRights 
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We welcome your thoughts and opinions.

Email your letters to:
Kendallc@FlyersRights.org