July 17, 2023
Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-823-8442
Washington, D.C. – NCL submitted the below letter to House Speaker McCarthy and Leader Jeffries to urge support for pro-passenger amendments to House FAA reauthorization bill.
July 16, 2023
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy Speaker of the House
United States House of Representatives H-232 , The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Hakeem Jeffries Democratic Leader
United States House of Representatives 2433 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
RE: Consumer groups urge support for pro-passenger amendments to House FAA reauthorization bill
Dear Speaker McCarthy and Leader Jeffries:
The nine undersigned organizations represent the interests of the passengers whose $54 billion in taxpayer funds allowed the American airline industry to survive the pandemic. 1 More than 75 million times every month, these Americans rely on airlines for safe, affordable, and reliable air transportation. 2 The return to profitability of the industry is being powered by the spending of the passengers on whose behalf we advocate. 3
On Monday, the House Rules Committee will take up the FAA reauthorization bill; H.R. 3935, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act. We urge you to use this twice-a-decade opportunity to stand up to the airlines and make sure that consumers see a return on their investment in the industry’s survival.
The bill that was reported out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on June 14 was a missed opportunity for the committee to address the need for important consumer protection reforms.4 Unfortunately, it also contains provisions that will result in less competition and fewer passenger protections than currently exist, such as the Section 701 language eliminating the Full Fare Advertising Rule. We urge you and your colleagues to use the consideration of the bill on the House Floor to remedy our concerns.
Toward this goal, we urge you and your colleagues in the House to SUPPORT the following amendments:
- #25 – GARCIL_056 – Establishing an Assistant Secretary-led Office of Aviation Consumer Protection at the Department of Transportation.
- #31 – PORTCA_097 – Requiring the FAA Administrator to prohibit air carriers from reducing the size of passenger seats on air carriers until the Administrator issues a final rule establishing minimum dimensions for passenger seats.
- #35 – PORTCA_100 – Requiring air carriers to provide passengers experiencing a controllable significant delay or cancellation with an alternative flight, including on another air carrier if necessary, and codifying the existing requirement for airlines to provide a full cash refund if the passenger chooses not to travel after experiencing such a delay or cancellation.
- #51 – DELUZI_018 – Directing the GAO to conduct a report on the effect of airline mergers for consumers.
- #58 – GARCIL_058 – Establishing a minimum wage and benefit standard for such airport service workers at large, medium, and small hub airports.
- #83 – ROSETN_040 – Adding a member of the general public who has experienced three or more flight cancellations or delays in the previous twelve months to the Passenger Experience Advisory Committee.
- #105 – GOTTHE_083 – Requiring a display of the total cost of the air transportation, including all fees, as part of a payment summary of any airline ticket transaction.
- #145 – STANAZ_034 – Directing airlines to provide information on their website on the rights and responsibilities of both airlines and passengers regarding the availability of on-board wheelchairs, and requiring annual staff training on assisting qualified individuals with a disability on the use of on-board wheelchairs.
- #169 – SCHAKO_046 – Striking the Section 701 language that would eliminate the Full Fare Advertising Rule.
- #228 – JAYAPA_066 – Requiring that, in the event of a flight being delayed by 3 hours or more due to a controllable flight disruption, a carrier offer: a rebooking for the next available flight using that carrier or its partner carrier; a meal or meal voucher; a hotel room and transportation to and from the hotel; and cash compensation.
- #241 – WILLGA_046 – Requiring a study and report on child safety in
- #275 – DAVIKS_013 – Requiring DOT to add to their Airline Customer Service Dashboard a section on Fee Transparency.
American deserve an airline industry that works for them. We urge you to support these important pro-consumer and pro-competition reforms.
National Consumers League
American Economic Liberties Project
Business Travel Coalition
Consumer Federation of America
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
1 Shepardson, David. “U.S. airlines to defend $54 billion COVID-19 government lifeline,” Reuters. (December 15, 2021) Online: https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/us-airlines-defend-54-billion- covid-19-government-lifeline-2021-12-15/
2 Bureau of Transportation Statistics. “March 2023 US Airline Enplanements Reach Within One Percent of All- Time Monthly High in 2019.” (June 8, 2023) Online: https://www.bts.dot.gov/newsroom/march-2023-us- airline-enplanements-reach-within-one-percent-all-time-monthly-high-2019
3 Farge, Emma. “Airlines see return to profit in 2023, clash with airports,” Reuters. (December 6, 2022) Online: https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/airlines-return-profitability-2023-iata-2022- 12-06/
4 House Committee on Transporation and Infrastructure. “T&I Committee Advances Bipartisan FAA Reauthorization Bill,” Press release. (June 14, 2023) Online: https://transportation.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=406734
About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit nclnet.org.