Airline Regulation

The place to discuss issues being debated in the 2009-2010 school year -- briefs, legislation and debate.

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EWang
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Airline Regulation

Postby EWang » Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:40 pm

So no meeting next week because of midterms. The next debate, on January 27th, will focus on Airline Regulation. It's a Model Congress topic and Senators Gagliardi and Mcavaddy will be writing up the bill, which should be posted very promptly.

For now, here's the Airline Regulation Brief:

Introduction
Commercial Airlines are one of the country's premiere businesses, and account for billions of dollars of revenue each year. Millions of people go through the airport terminals each day, and countless citizens use the airlines as a reliable, speedy means of transportation to and from both national and international destinations. Commercial Airlines have been around for a long time, and were seen as early as 1909, when the German Zeppelins were first used as commercial air transportation. Commercial Airliners have undoubtedly come a long way since then, but in recent years, the standards for the aircraft design, sustainability, and inspection have seemingly gone down sufficiently. Though the airlines undoubtedly continue to suffer losses, it is without doubt the consumer that suffers most. With delays and safety regulations being thrown at them without consideration, these consumers suffer time away from their families, and overall wasted time and money. They suffer fatigue and frustration while waiting for hours in a grounded aircraft, only to be taxied back to the gate and off the plane in the end. With these standards on a steady decline, and flight cancellations and delays at an all-time high, many would blame the aircraft companies. Recently, several states have passed legislation concerning these civilians, and their rights while on these corporately-owned aircraft.

Airline Passengers Bill of Rights
In response to a number of delays where passengers suffered lack of ventilation, food, and water, for lengthy time periods, New York passed State legislation concerning the passengers' rights. "As a major international travel hub, it is our duty to take the lead in adopting measures that will ease air travel for passengers," commented then-governor Elliot Spitzer. Among other measures, the bill mandates consumer complaint contact information. This bill took effect on January 1, 2007. On March 25, a Federal appeals court struck it down. It ruled that, through the lack of uniformity in state air travel laws, it would destroy the idea of having a centralized air travel framework. However, Federal law would not face such a threat. Congress now has the choice to pass such a bill which would include an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights. Airlines have already begun to take action voluntarily. JetBlue, in response to the bill, passed its own "Passenger Bill of Rights" which is still in place today. With such action, Congress may decide that such a bill would in fact be unnecessary, as some Airlines have already voluntarily implicated their own "Bill of Rights." Such rights included providing working restroom and free water for delayed flights being held on the tarmac.

FAA and Inspection of Aircraft
Another major issue concerning the passengers is their safety. For instance, evidence has arisen which may suggest that FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) officials inspecting planes were told to allow certain infractions to pass unabated. For instance, it was recently uncovered that Southwest Airlines was flying planes which did not go through the required amount of inspection, and which had faulty wiring. Much of this is not entirely the airline's fault. While it is undoubtedly the airline who committed the offense, it is the FAA's job to catch such malfunctions and infractions when the aircraft undergo inspections; at this, the FAA failed. A story issued by ABC channel 7 news in 2007 suggested that the FAA, in several cases, downplayed or ignored several aircraft malfunctions. Congress should put a stop to this, and a possible overhaul of the FAA could be in order if Congress so decides.

The Security Issue
Especially Post-9/11, security within airports has improved significantly. The most recent implication is a ban on all gels and liquids on a carry-on which exceed 3oz. Such regulations may put a strain on passengers, but they are necessary measures. Congress must find a proper balance between passenger freedoms and security. Recently especially, airport security has always taken precedent over passenger freedoms.

Links and Resources
Federal Aircraft Administration Homepage - http://www.faa.gov/
Airline Passenger Bill of Rights Act of 2009 (Not yet passed) - http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtex ... l=s111-213
More on the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights - http://www.independenttraveler.com/reso ... ategory=13

Comments on the topic?

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Re: Airline Regulation

Postby bfenster » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:21 am

The various charges that airlines are now levying on passengers for luggage and other "extras" are getting ridiculous. I suppose I can see the advantage of encourage people to travel light or go "no frills", but it was a lot simpler when there was a flat fee for purchasing a ticket. Now when I buy a ticket I have to figure into the price all the so-called extras. Me no like.

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Re: Airline Regulation

Postby egagliardi » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:30 pm

An Act to Reform Airline Costs and Security

Sponsored by Senators McAvaddy and Gagliardi

Be it hereby Enacted by the House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled:

Whereas the safety and security of airports has diminished over the passing months and the cost of flying has reached all time highs;

Section 1: The Federal Aviation Administration will create a reasonable flat rate for tickets and checking bags;

Section 2: Ensures that baggage is handled without delay or injury; if baggage is lost or misplaced, the airline shall notify customer of baggage status within 12 hours and provide compensation equal to current market value of baggage and its contents;

Section 3: By 2015, the Transportation Security Administration will have installed millimeter waves and backscatter scanners in 50% of all United States Airports;

Section 4: by 2025, the Transportation Security Administration will have installed Future Attribute Screening Technology, FAST, to protect the well-being of passengers and employees.

Section 5: This bill shall take effect ninety-one days after passage

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Re: Airline Regulation

Postby galukal » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:38 pm

Speakers

First Pro: Patrick
First Con: Ben Romano
Second Pro: Emily
Second Con: Bertrand

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Re: Airline Regulation

Postby pmcavaddy » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:05 pm

hey George can I be first speaker please? Thanks!

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Re: Airline Regulation

Postby galukal » Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:39 pm

I'll assume it's all right with Emily.

Hey, guys, I'd like to get a first con. I'll do the job if no one else will.

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Re: Airline Regulation

Postby bromano » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:03 pm

First off, I would like to commend the senators for a valiant effort in trying to reform our rapidly expanding airline economy. But i would like to make a couple points about the short comings of this bill.


egagliardi wrote:Section 1: The Federal Aviation Administration will create a reasonable flat rate for tickets and checking bags


This section I don't really have a problem with. I think this is a much needed idea, as airlines, as we experience with our trips, have large restrictions on bags you can bring. But one suggestion would be that instead of a fixed flat rate, leave the tickets up to the individual airline companies. Due to the prospects of the economy, the airlines would be able to base their own costs off of other airlines tickets. After all, if you are taking a flight from Newark to Virginia, it should cost a lot different then flying to Beijing. So either have the FAA create an algorithm of sorts for pricing of tickets, or leave it up to the airlines themselves.



egagliardi wrote:Section 2: Ensures that baggage is handled without delay or injury; if baggage is lost or misplaced, the airline shall notify customer of baggage status within 12 hours and provide compensation equal to current market value of baggage and its contents;


The first half of this section is fine, but I feel that providing compensation is a tricky issue. You might get someone who makes up what they have in their bag, so that they receive more compensation then they deserve. This will provide a challenge to over come because what are you supposed to do? Have people inventory their bags before they get on the plane? This is a potential problem that will take further insight.



egagliardi wrote:Section 3: By 2015, the Transportation Security Administration will have installed millimeter waves and backscatter scanners in 50% of all United States Airports;


I actually agree with these technology, as long as the proposed privacy protection steps are actually put into place. I would much rather some airport security person see the fact that I have a prosthetic limb, or some other medical device, because i most likely will never see them again. Even so, most airports that do have these scanners have an "op-out" where you can submit to a more traditional pat down search instead.




egagliardi wrote:Section 4: by 2025, the Transportation Security Administration will have installed Future Attribute Screening Technology, FAST, to protect the well-being of passengers and employees


I dislike this idea because this technique is still fairly rocky. If it only detects 80%, I am still worried about that 20%, and these numbers are only after a crime has been committed. If this program is taken in, and research done on it, I would have less of a problem. (After all, it is cool to be able to do that like they do on Lie To Me)

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Re: Airline Regulation

Postby SRaghavan » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:48 pm

As much as I like the bill,

Wouldn't proposing a standard flat rate probably be at an extremely high price? With a flat rate, passengers may bring EVERYTHING that they want and won't this cause the cautious airline companies to set the flat fee at an extremely high price, just in case the passengers do bring a lot of stuff?


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