Senator Schumer Seeks Disclosure Mandates on Travel Websites

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) introduced new legislation requiring online travel websites to notify customers, on the first page after they enter in a search for airline tickets, as to what carriers will be running their flight.  Some travel websites already provide this information to customers when they book online, but many do not, Schumer said in a statement. This legislation would make immediate airline disclosure a legal requirement.

For example, when a customer does a search for tickets from Buffalo to Albany for July 15, an 11 a.m. U.S. Air flight appears. That flight, however, is run by regional carrier Colgan Air.  Schumer’s legislation would require that fact to be disclosed with the first search results, not after a customer has already selected a flight and is ready to purchase the tickets.

“The bottom line is that, from start to finish, airline passengers purchasing tickets online should know exactly which carrier they are purchasing a ticket from," said Schumer. "If there is nothing to hide, then it should not be hidden. It is unacceptable that passengers put their safety in the hands of airlines every time they board a plane, but not all websites disclose which airline carrier passengers will actually be flying until the last moment. With regional carriers representing 40 percent of America’s commercial fleet, customers should be able to easily choose which carriers they want to fly.”

Senator Schumer introduced S. 1283, the Regional Carrier Disclosure Act of 2009, on Wednesday, June 17, which is supported by the families of the victims of Colgan Air Flight 3407, which crashed in Buffalo in February, claiming 50 lives.  This crash has drawn national attention to, and scrutiny of, the training and safety requirements of regional carrier pilots, Schumer said.

Schumer has sponsored other legislation aimed at improving passenger safety on commercial flights.  After the January splash landing of a US Airways flight in the Hudson River, Schumer introduced legislation making the reporting of bird strikes mandatory.  He also urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to reject a proposal to transfer expert aviation meteorologists out of the New York City area, a move that would have worsened flight delays and compromised safety at New York’s airports.  Earlier this month, Senator Schumer also introduced legislation forcing the FAA to include a member from the Aviation Safety Sector on the FAA’s Management Advisory Council.