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Tue, Jul 17, 2012

Consumer Group Blasts A4A For Position On Legislation

FlyersRights.org Says Airline Lobby Group Called 'Families Flying Together Act' 'Needless'

Airline consumer organization FlyersRights.org says it has received dozens of complaints, not only from families disassociated from their babies due to the increased cost of aisle and window seats, but from business travelers who are uncomfortable being seated next to them.

A bill titled the "Families Flying Together Act of 2012," which would require airlines to seat families together was, written by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) But the consumer group says it has been attacked by another lobbying group, Airlines for America (A4A). According to a FlyersRights.org news release, AFA claims that this new bill is "needless." The lobby group also claims that the new fee system for aisle and window seats offers passengers more choice, but does it?

"These business travelers are being seated next to unaccompanied infants and toddlers, the most vulnerable air travelers. This, as you can imagine, creates all kinds of issues," said Kate Hanni (pictured), executive director of FlyersRights.org. "We cannot imagine a more family unfriendly environment than the one created by this new set of fees for aisle and window seats."

"Imagine being a business traveler and sitting in a 'coveted' aisle seat next to a two-year-old who is ill, or screaming because they need a diaper change. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize this won't work," Hanni continued. "When you have bean counters making customer service decisions, you see a lack of common sense decisions and that's what we are seeing now."

Hanni said the unbundling of ancillary, or 'hidden fees,' has  gotten to the point where no one can estimate the cost of air travel with any reasonable certainty. "Now, this added stressor for families forces them to decide whether to drive or to find alternative transportation to their destinations. I think airline passengers are asking themselves what's next in the area of hidden fees," Hanni added. "Oxygen? A seat belt? Pay to potty? Stand up seating? It appears that everything is on the table."

FlyersRights.org strongly supports Representative Nadler's bill and hopes that Congress takes a long, hard look at re-regulating the most fundamental aspects of air travel so as to protect families from the anti-family decisions of the airlines.

FMI: www.FlyersRights.org

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