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Monday, November 17, 2014

Declining Expectations
Nov. 18, 2014

November marks the one year anniversary of the American Airlines and US Airways merger.

Let's take a look back at all the assurances and promises about 'synergies', and see if the merger was indeed "fantastic for the traveling public," as gushed US Airways CEO, Doug Parker a year ago.

Promise No. 1: "Travelers will benefit from more competition once American and US Airways gates are given up at La Guardia, Logan and Reagan National airports."
False. Unless 'benefit' somhow refers to higher ticket prices and degraded service, there's been no passing of any savings along to the consumer. Quite the opposite according to historical airfare data.

And, currently, American Airlines is tracking just behind Spirit Airlines in terms of passenger complaints.

Promise No. 2: 'Pledge' to retain hubs. 

True and false. No hubs have been closed yet. But capacity and routes at many have been cut, most severely at Phoenix, a former US Airways hub. Ticket prices have sharply increased across the board at that airport.

Also, this month American quietly closed it's regional jet operations at its Miami hub.

US Airways' hub, Charlotte, may see flight cuts to Europe, executives at American Airlines are hinting.

Promise No. 3: Frequent Flyers 'Synergies'

True: American and US Airways are combining their frequent flyer programs, with three main tiers: 25,000, 50,000, and 100,000 miles.

False: Benefits passengers. Although the new American Airlines may have temporarily refrained from raising the requirements for their frequent flyer program, it is nearly impossible to get a free seat without booking months, even years in advance. And every other day day is either blacked out or there are only one or two free seats available.

Across the board, we've seen the airlines turn frequent flyer programs from something that used to be used for encouraging customer loyality, into a scam to persuade you to buy tickets, then find every possible way to deny you your reward.

Winners and losers:  

Ironclad Champions:

1. American Airlines Shareholders - With AAL stock on fire this year, up over 70%, and the most aggressive re-fleeting plan among U.S. airlines with almost 500 aircraft on order with crammed coach seating along with lower fuel prices, record profits are expected to soar.

2. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker - He took home about $20.9 million last year in executive compensation.


1. The Leisure Traveler: 

You might think that, given competition, there's no reason to worry about the effects of a mess like US Airways-American. Consumers can always switch to friendlier skies, right? But competition, while helpful, is an insufficient remedy for bad customer service. For one thing, on some routes, there is little alternative to the new American Airlines. More cunning is the fact that airlines' low standards have spread throughout the industry. 

When one airline increases change fees, they're quickly copied by many of its competitors. As airlines merge, competitors collude by taking turns raising fees or providing a lower level of service, making the bad treatment of consumers contagious. Yesterday's outrage soon becomes today's industry standard. Decent behavior is treated as a perk. 

2. Jobs, Price Competition, Convenience
To "merge" comes from the Latin mergere, meaning to "dip, plunge, immerse, drown, bury "sink below the waves and disappear".

What the US Airways-Amererican has merged are jobs, price competition, convenience, etc.

Stow Your Smile In The Overhead Bin

What have we lost? For those who can't remember, in 1978 any ticket was fully refundable. You could change flights without penalties. You were often compensated for canceled flights. 

Seats had more legroom. Travelers were treated to free meals and a much less harried flight crew.

If we take into account the remarkably degraded service, a reduction in price that is at best modest and more likely non-existent, and factor in the full costs to employees, customers and communities, any rational cost-benefit analysis must conclude that deregulation has been a failed experiment.

If fuel costs are lower, what's keeping air fares sky-high? 

Travel writer, Christopher Elliott, asks the question on everyone's mind in his Washington Post column: Why aren't airfares falling with the price of fuel?

The answer is similar to why Starbucks doesn't lower their prices when the price of coffee drops. Because these corporations will never pass along any savings to the customer, ever.

Also, little to no competition helps (the airlines) too.

"The industry has become more concentrated, more oligopolistic, less competitive, and with greater market pricing power," says James Brock, an economics professor at Miami University.

"In a more competitive market, lower fuel costs would flow through to lower fares," he adds. "In a less competitive market? Not so much."

Read More: The Washington Post

Cartoon Of The Week!

Getting on a Plane? 
Put This Number in Your Phone:

Kate Hanni, founder 
with Paul Hudson, President
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Stand Up, Before You Sit Down
Your Rights A to Z

Nov. 11, 2014
Air travel is more stressful than ever. There are more cancellations, tarmac delays, and passenger horror stories than ever.
Photo: Juliette Borda

An airline passenger's worst nightmare is hearing the announcement, "Your flight has been canceled", or "Your luggage will not arrive until tomorrow".

Never before has the need been greater for an airline passenger rights association.

Because here's what passengers are up against, lobbyists from the air transport industry have spent $58,395,689 so far this year and an average of $82,427,395 each of the last five years to keep the profitable status quo and defeat pro-consumer and anti-trust legislation.  

There are over 130 aviation industry companies and political action committees that contribute to the reelection campaigns of members of Congress.

The top dollar recipient for 2013-2014 was Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. 

As one of the most powerful members of Congress on aviation matters, he received $254,200 in airline PAC contributions, mostly from industries in which his committee rules over.

Consumers, however, spent practically nothing on lobbying Congress, yet on the typical round-trip $300 domestic ticket, they pay about $60 in taxes.

So, airline passengers are significantly underrepresented in Congress, yet they've paid significantly into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund this year that finances the FAA.

So what can passengers do? 

 You can start by contacting your representative, (and send us a copy), saying "I want FlyersRights to advocate for the rights and interests of air travelers, to be funded with 1/1000 of the ticket taxes and facility charges paid by airline passengers."

You can add, "I want Congress to introduce the FlyersRights Passenger Rights Bill to stop the degrading of service on U.S. domestic flights. Air travel today takes longer and has more delays. In coach, seats are squeezed as never before, risking health and safety. Airline service to smaller and midsize cities has been cut, causing passengers to pay much higher fares to these airports."

FlyersRights has been successful previously by getting The Department of Transportation rules beefed up with the landmark Tarmac Delay rule in 2009, which limited delays on the ground to three hours.
Then, we had another victory with the passage of our enhanced passenger protections in 2011:
  • Lost Bag Refund: A refund for all lost, checked baggage. Many airlines now charge $25 per checked bag. Currently, passengers can claim items lost, but they still end up paying for the fee. The refund applies only to luggage lost, not delayed. If this happens, file an online complaint with the DOT. According to USA Today, airlines collect more than $3 billion in bag fees each year.
  • No Hidden Fees: It's mandatory for airlines to disclose all hidden fees at any point during a traveler's purchasing process, whether online or at the ticket counter. These include fees for taxes, cancelations, changes, meals, baggage and even upgrades. 
  • Bumping Compensation: Passengers are eligible for compensation from $650 to $1,300 if they are involuntarily bumped from their flight. For "short delays," passengers are entitled to up to twice the purchase amount of their ticket, or $650. For longer delays, they can receive up to four times their ticket price, or $1,300.
  • Grace Period: Passengers have a 24-hour grace period to make changes to their itinerary without accruing cancelation fees.
  • Notification of Flight Changes: Airlines are required to inform passengers of delays and bumps either at the gate, via cell phone, or online for domestic flights. This gives passengers the option not to board a delayed flight and arrange other means of arriving at their destination.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no U.S. law requiring the airlines to provide meal vouchers or hotels. However, some airlines will provide these accommodations because they agreed to do so in their Contracts of Carriage. 

So, when buying your ticket, don't just compare price. Go a step further and compare the protections under the carriers' Contracts of Carriage. Sometimes paying a few extra dollars for a ticket will get you a room and a meal in case of delay.

Under EU law however, passengers are entitled to reimbursement for meals and refreshments and two free telephone calls, e-mails, or faxes where there is a sufficient delay (i.e., delays of two hours in "short haul" trips up to 1,500 km, three hours in "medium haul" trips up to 3,500 km, and four hours in "long haul" trips greater than 3,500 km; Regulation No. 261/2004, Article 6). 

Where the delay is five hours or more, passengers traveling in Europe are entitled to reimbursement of the full cost of the flight ticket together with a return flight to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity. When a flight is canceled, the passenger is entitled to cash payment based on the length of the flight (short haul, €250; medium haul, €400; long haul, €600; Regulation No. 261/2004, Article 5). 

Read more at FlyersRights.org.

Overbooking and Denied Boarding

Yes, it is perfectly legal for airlines to sell more tickets than seats on a flight as long as they give passengers sufficient notice. Thus the signs at counters and on the back of paper tickets.

Bumping is bad news to a traveler. If you are involuntarily denied boarding, you are entitled to immediate payment of the following compensation (14 CFR 250.5):

Domestic Flights:
  • 0 to 1 hour arrival delay: No compensation
  • 1 to 2 hour arrival delay: 200% of your one-way fare (up to a maximum of $650)
  • Over 2 hours arrival delay: 400% of your one-way fare (up to a maximum of $1,300)
International Flights:
  • 0 to 1 hour arrival delay: No compensation
  • 1 to 4 hour arrival delay: 200% of your one-way fare (up to a maximum of $650)
  • Over 4 hours arrival delay: 400% of your one-way fare (up to a maximum of $1,300)
Passengers who are involuntarily denied boarding are entitled to payment in cash/check, but many carriers may try to get away with offering payment in tickets/vouchers. 

When a flight is oversold, carriers often request volunteers. Volunteers may be offered any amount of compensation by the carrier.  

Enforcing Your Rights

The bad news: Passengers cannot sue the airlines themselves and must rely on the DOT to enforce the rules. There is no private right of action for violation of the DOT's consumer protection regulations. 

Practically all state consumer protection statutes and tort claims are rendered useless against air carriers. This leaves consumers with just one remaining cause of action: breach of the Contract of Carriage. 

On average, legitimately harmed passengers are able to get their money back in small claims court for breach of contract. 

When Problems Arise

When problems arise at the airport, your best initial response is to go online to the carrier's Contract of Carriage - all airlines are required to publicize this online - to see what your rights are under the contract. Are you entitled to overnight hotel and meals? Will the carrier send you to another carrier that can get you there sooner? 

Read More: American Bar Assn.

Shut Up And 'Relax', Tweets AA

Election law professor Rick Hasen on Saturday tweeted a fairly sober assessment of a new 737 American Airlines jet as he flew from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Back on another @AmericanAir new plane. My review: beautiful seats, screen, plugs/usb: bad seat pitch and less room for writing on a laptop
- Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) November 8, 2014
The company then responded with the equivalent of "sit down and shut up."
@rickhasen We're happy to have you on board, Rick. Maybe that's a sign that you just have to #sitandrelax. - American Airlines (@AmericanAir) November 8, 2014
So, a customer complains there's not enough room to work on a new airplane, and the airliner responds that he should just relax.

When Hasen said this, American tried to sell him on buying a more expensive seat.
@rickhasen Have you tried our Main Cabin Extra seating? Up to 6 inches more legroom per seat.
- American Airlines (@AmericanAir) November 8, 2014
Hasen soon responded with a popular take on airline industry economics.
@AmericanAir I understand. There is great pressure to monetize everything on airplanes. And cartelization gives frequent flyers less choice - Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) November 8, 2014
And to this, amazingly, American responded, "You're welcome, Rick!"

In Hasen's case, American Airlines ultimately 'apologized' for the service he received.
@rickhasen We're very sorry if we misunderstood your tweet, Rick. We hope you're more comfortable on your next flight with us.
- American Airlines (@AmericanAir) November 8, 2014
See, the problem is we sardined passengers are just "misunderstanding" the airlines.

Video of the Week!
 Air New Zealand's Safety Video - wow!
The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made #airnzhobbit

Getting on a Plane? 
Put This Number in Your Phone:

                            Kate Hanni, founder 
                         with Paul Hudson, President


Sign the FlyersRights Petition for a Passenger Bill of Rights 2.0!

Send comments to the editor, KendallCreighton or @KendallFlyers

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Better Late Than Never 
Nov. 4, 2014

Jetting to Europe and worried about delays?

A screen displays delayed flights at Gatwick Airport

Unlike in the U.S., airlines in Europe are now required by law to pay passengers in cash for prolonged flight delays.

Last Friday's ruling by the European Court of Justice that flights arriving over three hours later than their scheduled time - defined by the time when at least one aircraft door is open, not when wheels touch the ground - means passengers can seek compensation anywhere in the range of $160 to $800 per person.  This latest ruling could cost the airlines billions. 

The delay must be the fault of the airline.

So strikes and bad weather won't qualify, but if your flight was disrupted because of equipment malfunctions or the airline not being prepared for bad weather while other flights
ran on time, then you have the right to pursue a claim.
Previously, passengers had their claims for compensation denied because the airline contended that the flight did arrive on time, based on when the aircraft landed or came to a standstill.
But as FlyersRights members know, a lot of waiting can happen between the time a plane lands, taxis, and a door finally opens.

U.S. and Canadian citizens benefit from new EU flight delay compensation laws

The law provides for US and Canadian citizens and entitles them to up to $800 in compensation from the carrier when they are delayed on routes between North America and Europe.

The flight must be operated by an EU-regulated airline. This means the passenger is either departing from any airport within the EU on any airline (including US airlines), or is flying into Europe on an EU-based airline.

In addition, both the distance of the flight and the duration of the delay affect the amount of compensation passengers may be able to claim. This can range from 125 - 600 Euros ($160 - $800) per person.

Since 2009, EU rules have stated that passengers who reach their destination more than three hours late can claim up to Euro 600 plus expenses, per person, if the delay is within the airline's control.

However, the airlines have stonewalled thousands of passengers from getting the cash they are entitled to, because airlines often refuse to pay out even when the regulator rules against them. While most customers give up at this point, some have gone to court. 

 Underscores How Badly The System Is Rigged Against US Consumers

Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights said, "The Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights would help, but the US is well behind the EU and Canada in providing compensation for excessive flight delays. Yet, somehow EU airlines offer cheaper fares within Europe."

"Transatlantic fares are at record levels due to DOT sanctioned alliances,exempt from price fixing antitrust laws and domestic fares are also soaring", he said.

The ramifications of this decision are significant. For example, about 2.6 million passengers fly from London to New York every year, of which approximately 21 thousand passengers would be directly affected by the regulation.

Collectively, they would be eligible for compensation of around $17 million.

In light of the court's decision, the website Flightright is recommending passengers take the following steps whenever it looks like their flight will be significantly delayed:
  1. If the delay occurs at the departing airport, ask a gate agent what is the cause of the delay. The weather? A technical issue? Crew staffing problems? Note the reason the airline provides, and when it was given. Document any other pertinent information provided by airport or airline staff.
  2. Record the time that you boarded the aircraft, when the aircraft pushed back from the gate, and when it took off.
  3. During the flight, ask a member of the flight or cabin crew if they know the cause of the delay. Document any information provided, who provided it, and the time.
  4. Upon arrival at the destination airport, note when the aircraft landed, when it came to a standstill, and when it docked at the gate or parking area.
  5. Document the exact time that the first door was opened.
According to Flightright, technical problems with an aircraft, bad weather, and delays associated with crew staffing problems are the most common reasons why passengers claim compensation.

They Fought The Law And The Law Won  

Last week's judgments follow a six-year battle between EU airlines and passengers.

It was Jet2 airline that brought the whole edifice crashing down, reported  MoneySavingExpert.com.
Up to that point, the airlines had been fighting a generally effective guerrilla war in small claims court.

This certainly deterred most passengers from cashing in on their legitimate legal entitlement for delayed flights, and accordingly worked in the favor of the airlines.

But rather than pay out one passenger, Ron Huzar's, small claim, Jet2 decided to bet the farm (and indeed all the other airlines' farms) by doubling down.  

If the airline had won in the Court of Appeal, the protection afforded byRegulation 261/04 would have been seriously eroded.

But if they lost, they would create a binding legal precedent that would ensure an unambiguous and definitive interpretation of the law in favor of the passenger.

So, well done, Jet2. You may be a fairly unremarkable airline, but you've done something truly special for EU passengers. This victory is your very own Halloween.  

Jet2.com did not wish to provide a comment.

Experts predict this victory will open the floodgates for claims from passengers who suffer delays in the future.
Your Letters 

(From last week's newsletter, Stocking Stuffers)

Dear FlyersRights:

I read your newsletter this morning and someone sent an email disagreeing with the mandatory quarantine for people coming from West Africa.  I totally agree with this type of move to stop this terrible outbreak.
I am flying twice before the end of the year; once through Dallas and once staying in Dallas.  I've already made plans to stay at my home for 3 weeks when I return to protect my family and friends in case there is someone joy riding through the skies that has been exposed to Ebola.
I don't  understand these medical personnel that have seen what this can do, understand how it has affected the US, and no one can guarantee it's not an air-borne illness (I don't care what the so-called experts say-they aren't sure). 

Specifically, the doctor that went on his merry way to bowling alleys, etc. and the nurse that caused an uproar because she has to stay home for 3 weeks.  Good going New Jersey!  I wish all states would do the same.
Thank you,

Dear FlyersRights:

I generally support FR. But, this is the USA and companies are entitled to make a profit. If the prices get obscene, low cost carriers will arrive.

I do not like paying high prices any more than the next guy. if they are too high, I do not go.

Compare today's prices with those of 1972 and adjust for inflation. Today is cheaper.

On the other hand, if they keep me on a plane against my will, I'll hang 'em by their "toenails." The "we'll lose our place argument" is pure hogwash.
Dear FlyersRights:

I used to fly for a living. have not done so in years because of the awful way passengers are treated. We need to grow a pair and demand that the airlines remember who pays their salaries. A strike by only 10% of the flying public during this holiday season will get their attention! 

Forget what is stated above. We now have a few generations of AMERICANS that will stand for anything!

Dear FlyersRights:

As you say, profits are way up in the airline industry and yet commercial flyers and employees are all getting squeezed.  The market economy is supposed to lead to a competition in which fares gets lower and service gets better.  In fact the reverse is happening.  Until ordinary people finally agree that capitalism without regulation is too brutal to be acceptable, we will continue to see this process, not only in the airlines but in other industries.

The government is supposed to intervene between the companies and us consumers, is supposed to tame and soften the worst aspects of this economic system, but because the corporate lobbyists outweigh us in power and influence, our government representatives and departments are failing to do that job.  We should not be eschewing government and making it the enemy; we should be demanding that it serve us as it should.

We need to organize to get the money out of our elections, make our representatives beholden to us, not the lobbyists, and we need to support our now very weak unions which are trying to keep the floor from getting ever lower and making the lives of working people and ordinary consumers more and more difficult.

Thank you for all you do to inform us about the aviation industry.

Dear FlyersRights:
The T-shirt arrived today! I think it will fit perfectly. Will wear it proudly on our next trip (on LUFTHANSA *:) happy) from Munich to USA. Here's hoping for no delays, no air-rage incidents, and no Ebola scares.
Thanks again for all you do!!!

Folks, there is still time to get your FlyersRights shirts!

We've got FlyersRights buttons for donations over $50, and t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts for gifts over $100 --or just send us a donation!

We need your help!

Gifts to our 501(c)3 are a tax write-off.
Videos of the Week!
Rapping Flight Attendant from Southwest Airlines
Rapping Flight Attendant from Southwest Airlines

Hilarious 5.45 hour video of "BLAH Airlines". Well done Virgin America

Have you been flying BLAH Airlines?
Have you been flying BLAH Airlines?
Read FlyersRights' statement on cell phone use in airliners. (pdf)

Follow @FlyersRights for the latest reports!

Getting on a Plane? Put This Number in Your Phone:

Monday, October 27, 2014

    Stocking Stuffers

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Delta Airlines was one of the first to hike fares last week, despite falling fuel prices. 
Alberto Riva

The major airlines in the U.S. reported their earnings last week, and they are staggering.

If you thought lower fuel prices would lead to lower airfares, think again.

What Goes Up, Doesn't Come Down

U.S. airlines are raising fares on domestic flights even though they are getting a windfall from lower fuel prices.

Last Thursday, a trial-balloon hike of $10 round-trip implemented by Delta stuck after Southwest Airlines joined other carriers Friday in bumping fares up.

Both United Airlines and American Airlines matched it Friday evening making for a very quick success, said FareCompare.com

All the major airlines are reporting record load factors with Southwest Airlines bragging that its flights out of Dallas' Love Field are running over 90% full.

So what we have here is the major carriers doing very well holding down capacity and raising fares and packing planes.

Southwest Airlines, which used to be the friend of low fares and market expansion, is now just like the other major carriers. It seems that the hopes of flyers who want reasonable fares will now fall to Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant.

We're Stuffed

Heading into the holiday travel period, the airlines expect even cheaper fuel, due to a dive in crude oil prices.

Jet fuel price, an airline's biggest single expense, has dropped by about one-fifth since mid-June.

Yet holiday travel will be more expensive in 2014 than in 2013.

A new study by Expedia reports that domestic fares for the Thanksgiving holiday are up 17% over last year, to an average of $467. Christmas airfares are up 2% to an average of $493, the travel site said.

Flights over Christmas averaged $482 in 2013 and are averaging $493 in 2014, a 2 percent hike."

Carriers raised fares five times this year and attempted to do so 20 times.
So even as oil prices dropped, instead of passing the savings onto the customer, the airlines participated in ramping up fares.

Full of Bad Cheer

The airlines like to say that flying has never been cheaper, and they are just starting to dig out of the hole from the 2000s, which resulted in billions of losses. But this is probably the most misleading argument about airfares today.

- All the major carriers except Southwest took a trip through bankruptcy court and unloaded most of their debt onto unsecured creditors, wiping out their shareholders and strong-arming their employees into accepting reductions in pay, benefits and working conditions.

- Adjusted for inflation, each major airline is saving billions in equivalent labor costs achieved though outsourcing - everything from menial jobs in airports, to regional "Express/Connection" flights with contract pilots, to maintenance and aircrft fuelers, to call center employees.

- Service has decreased. A 150-seat aircraft today typically has no more than three flight attendants, down from five-six years earlier. Additionally, complimentary meals are no longer provided to main cabin passengers except on transcontinental flights.

- Fares today do not include ancillary fees, such as those for baggage, seat assignments, meals, etc. that consumers pay extra for now. Tickets have also become more punitive in terms of change and standby fees.

- Aircraft load factors are expected to be in the upper 80th percentile, compared with barely 50 percent years earlier.

Fuel Surcharges Have Nothing To Do With The Price of Fuel

On Monday the price of crude oil fell below $80 a barrel for the first time since mid-2012 as energy prices continue to plummet around the world.

So why aren't the airlines reducing the so-called fuel surcharge? Isn't this just another name for a fare increase?

Fuel surcharges are a convenient way to raise and lower all fares in a market by a mixed amount without having to refile each fare, explains the blog View From The Wing.

Only a few airlines in the U.S. and a few partner carriers impose these fuel surcharges on customers booking award tickets. On flights to Europe, your ticket breakdown still shows fuel surcharges of usually several hundred dollars.

The Huffington Post calls it a pure money grab and rip off that has gone far beyond the price of fuel.

There was a class action suit filed in 2012 against British Airways for failing to disclose what portion of their fees were attributable to fuel surcharges.

FlyersRights believes some re-regulation of our air transportation industry is needed. The existing model doesn't work, except for Wall Street profits.

Your Letters!
(In response to "Ebola, The Plane Facts")

 Dear FlyersRights:

    Well it seems that who ever you got your "facts" from about the safety of flying was full of S**T.  CDC HAS now confirmed that a second nurse that treated T E Duncan in Dallas HAS Ebola. AND what's more, she has flown on a commercial flight even after showing symptoms! So your and the Obama administration's approach of burying your head in the sand and telling everyone that it's not contagious and that it's safe to fly with exposed people is WRONG!
  Read this IF you care to know the facts; http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/15/health/texas-ebola-outbreak/index.html

  So from here on out, I don't believe a word that you say. TAKE ME OFF OF YOUR MAILING LIST!


Dear FlyersRights:

I don't agree with you that we should ban flights from West Africa or quarantine everyone coming in from that region.  For one thing, symptoms of Ebola can take up to 21 days to manifest, and there simply is no reasonable way to quarantine large numbers of people for that long at an airport.

Checking for fevers isn't going to be effective either, for the same 21 day reason, and screening questions won't do a lot of good (people can lie; Duncan did).  Further, aid workers and WHO personnel will be a lot less willing to fly to Africa to help with the ongoing epidemic if they don't think they'll be able to get back home.  

There aren't enough personnel now, and losing people will only exacerbate the current situation and create a bigger public-health menace.  Finally, there's more than one way to get back to one's home country, even if flights from that part of the world are banned. Witness the millions of Cubans who flew from Florida to Mexico to Cuba when the U.S. had a travel ban with that country.  Or that guy who flew from Europe to Canada and then drove south into the United States with multiple drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Part of the price we pay for living in a free society is expecting, or at least hoping, that other people will act responsibly.  I believe it is currently illegal in the United States to get on an airplane if you have or think you have a contagious disease.  That includes the common cold, not just Ebola.  (Even if it isn't illegal, it's stupid; not only do you put other people at risk but being in an airplane while sick is a miserable experience, and it's not like they can land halfway there to let you off.)   

I think the public would be better served with a public-information campaign instructing people not to fly if they're sick.  Further, it would be tremendously helpful if airlines would either refund fares or at least offer credits to people who decline to fly when they're sick.  That's the sort of law we should be demanding from Congress; absent the financial incentive to use a ticket they already paid for, I think most sick people would stay home.  I know I would.

Just $0.02 from a civilian. 


(In response to "F Minus")

Dear FlyersRights:

Here is the deal, and I am coming at this from a Pure Sale Perspective.  We live in an era where there is no One Size Fits All.  Each person spends money on things for their own reasons.

So, not that I would want to be in Economy Minus, but there is a Market for that.  Southwest has been doing it for years, but did not call it that.

I focus on Sales and Sales Enablement.  Not trying to sell you anything, but I look at things a little differently.

Sorry if that does not make sense.  Just how I look at it!

Dear Phil, 

The problem with "economy minus" is, where does it end? "Economy minus-minus"? Then "Economy minus-minus-minus"... 

And this would be way for the airlines to charge regular-coach passengers more. Then charge "economy minus" passengers the same price that regular-coach fares were. So you'd pay the same, and get less.

Travelers expections are already getting lower and lower. A few years ago, your expectations for a coach fare were a bag included and some food for the price of the ticket. Now we've all been trained by the airlines to expect almost nothing with the price of a coach seat.

Kendall Creighton

Follow Us @FlyersRights for the latest reports!

Getting on a Plane? Put This Number in Your Phone:

                                      Kate Hanni, founder 
                                   with Paul Hudson, President
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