New Consumer Rights Group Focuses on Air TravelFebruary 3, 2009 By: George Dooley
The Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR) has been formed to change the nature of domestic air travel by improving customer service and pursuing a federal Passenger Bill of Rights in Congress. AAPR reports it is a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt, nonprofit organization whose stated mission is to promote fairer customer service and accessibility standards in the airline industry and to improve passenger satisfaction. The group will be headquartered in Washington, D.C.
"Air travelers in the United States are completely fed-up with almost every aspect of the airline industry today," summarized Brandon M. Macsata, executive director of the new group. "Passengers are tired of all the new surcharges; they are tired of sitting on the tarmac for hours without any explanation; they are tired of the cancelled flights; and they are tired of the poor customer service. Only federal legislation, or an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights, can resolve these consumer-related issues. Only the Association for Airline Passenger Rights can help make this remedy a reality."
The purpose of the AAPR is to educate policymakers on travel-related information important to airline passengers, improve accessibility for passengers with disabilities and protect the consumer rights and responsibilities of airline passengers.” Prior to AAPR, every aspect of the airline industry was represented in Washington, D.C. except for the people who pay the bills— airline passengers! The airlines, pilots, flight attendants, service crews, and air traffic controllers are all represented, and now AAPR will level the playing field by representing the interests of airline passengers.”
AAPR’s website notes: “Passenger trip delays, whether due to delayed flights, diverted flights or rebooking after scheduled flights have been cancelled or oversold, have never been higher. Airline consumers, whether traveling for business or pleasure, play a kind of Russian-Roulette with their schedules; never knowing when they will arrive at their destinations. Often passengers are left waiting without explanation for the delay. Passenger frustrations have been compounded by lost luggage, as well as new surcharges for everything including fuel, beverages, pillows, baggage, and certain coach-class seating.”
“Various legislation attempting to address these concerns have been stalled in committee for years without seeing the light of day even as the problems and expenses of airline travel have increased exponentially. With the rise in fees, surcharges and trip delays, there have been corresponding cuts in the customary services and comforts air travelers have known for decades. It's no wonder that public opinion toward the airline industry is at an all-time low.”