Lipinski: Airline Passengers Must Be Better Protected (May 2, 2017)

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) issued the following statement today after questioning airline executives during a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing: 

“United's recent change in policy that they will pay up to $10,000 to encourage passengers to give up their seat on a flight is a step in the right direction.  So is Southwest's decision to stop overbooking flights.  I call on the other airline companies to follow, and they all must take additional steps.  Passengers must be better protected.  We must prod, regulate, and/or legislate to make sure this happens.  Before 1978, airlines were heavily regulated.  If airlines won't protect their customers, then maybe we need to bring back some of those regulations.
“Following my questioning at today’s hearing, I believe that airlines need to change their policies on interlining - putting passengers on another airline's flight.  Passengers should be put on another airline if the one they purchased their ticket on cannot get them to their destination in a timely manner by fault of the airline.  This includes, but is not limited to, involuntary denied boarding.  This should be automatic.  They should not have to ask, which is what I was told the policy is right now.  If airlines do not do this, I think we need to re-institute rules requiring them to do so.  At this time of high profit for airlines - reported as 15.3B in 2016 during today’s hearing - it’s time that they step up and treat passengers better or Congress will have to act.”

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