US Congress demands the FAA for more passenger rights protection
The U.S. Senate is currently working on the bill that would authorize the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to operate for the next five years. The new bill could include several additions regarding passenger rights. The House of Representatives already passed its own version in April 2018.
The bill passed by the House asks the FAA to determine minimum measurement for seating, including dimensions of seats and space among rows. Throughout the year, that space has been shrinking, as airlines are looking to house as many passengers as possible in their aircraft. The reduced space could potentially be dangerous in case of an emergency evacuation.
However, the current draft of the Senate bill only specifies that the Administrator of the FAA shall review if minimum seating measurements are a necessity or not. Regarding transport safety, the bill also demands for an evaluation of runway incursion occurrences, and of the risk of transporting lithium batteries.
The Senate Commerce Committee is pushing for the bill to limit the type and amount of fees that an airline can add to an advertised ticket price. The limitation was previously advocated by consumers association, but the FAA refused to rule on the matter, leaving it to the Congress. On the other side of the spectrum, airlines are trying to get revoked a requirement passed by the Obama administration in 2012 that ask for government taxes to be included in the advertised price.
After the bill is passed by the Senate, the differences between this version and the one of the House of Representatives will have to be settled before it can be submitted to President’s approval. If discussions between the two Chambers were to extend over the deadline of September 30, 2018, date after which the FAA five-year operating authorizations expires, authorizations could be temporarily extended.
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