Regulators are ready to hold airlines accountable
Fri Aug 5
Purchasing flights is quite stressful — what if your schedule changes or an emergency comes up? What if the airline makes major changes? Or a huge delay disrupts your whole schedule? In most cases, you lose money requesting a flight change or end up with a hard-to-use voucher that has somehow expired by the time you get to it.
A new proposal is now hoping to compensate Americans for at least some of these scenarios. Introduced by the Department of Transportation — who has experienced a massive increase in complaints about air travel — the proposal requires refunds any time, regardless of ticket type, if the airline…
- Changes the arrival or departure airport or adds stops in the itinerary
- Switches planes, resulting in a significant downgrade in experience
- Changes the arrival or departure time by 3+ hours on domestic flights or 6+ on international flights
Similar legislation has existed in Europe since 2004 through the E.U. Passenger Rights Regulation. Not only does the claim of compensation range from $250 to $600 per passenger, but the airline is required to inform passengers of their rights should they experience a delay or cancellation. This is in contrast to current U.S. policies where passengers have to initiate communications to then argue for some relief.
And with over 80,000 domestic flights canceled between January and May 2022, passengers and flight attendants alike are frustrated. American Airlines flight attendants claim their schedules are so jam-packed that any cancellation or delay completely throws off their schedules and requires more attendants to be on-call, which means possibly working on extremely short notice. This comes just two years after American Airlines cut the number of flight attendants on longer trips to save on costs.
BELOW THE FOLD BYTES
Designing for the Mobile Zombie
The smartphone addiction is to blame for yet another health/life hazard. Cities around the world are grappling with a rise in fatal traffic accidents in which pedestrians are crossing roads with gazes glued down to their mobile phones. In response, some places have implemented audible signals in addition to the ubiquitous pedestrian crossing lights. Hong Kong is taking a novel approach by shining the appropriate colored light down directly onto the crossing platform. That way, pedestrians see the red light even when looking down. Some feel they’ll quickly get used to the light and forget to heed it, but others are intrigued by the eeriness of busy streets bathed in red light.
“Bikepooling” To Make Biking Safer
The relatively flat landscape and year-round mild weather makes Los Angeles a perfect biking city — but in reality, it’s the worst in the U.S. with more cyclists killed than in any other county. With climate change in mind and painfully high fuel prices, those with shorter commutes want to bike to work without worrying over their safety. Enter CiBiC, a project to make biking safer. By setting up a simple bikepool (like carpooling) system, cyclists in an area form a pod to take up a full car lane and safely ride. Experts map the pods’ routes for the safest options and cyclists all follow road rules. If you’re in LA and want to try, CiBiC is looking for 100-200 more riders by October.
🎬 ACTION OF THE WEEK
Refunds aren’t the only regulation airlines may soon face: The Federal Aviation Administration is assessing minimum seat requirements for airlines and if they meet safety standards for emergency evacuation. Now through November 1, requests for public comments are open for you to share your thoughts!
THIS WEEK'S SOURCES
- U.S. Dot: Required refunds regulation 1 month old | 6 minutes long
- AFAR: 80,000 flight cancellations 5 weeks old | 17 minutes long
- Flight Right: E.U. passenger rights 14 minutes long
- Inc. Magazine: American Airline attendants 1 week old | 5 minutes long
ASCII-ING ABOUT THE NEWS
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Carpooling on bikes?! That’s a wheelie good idea!
Art Credit: ASCII Art Archive