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Of Supreme Importance

Dec. 21, 2016

This week FlyersRights filed a brief in the US Supreme Court, in support of airline passenger rights and interests. 

This is the second time we have filed an amici curiae at the US Supreme Court in support of the passenger. 

FlyersRights is asking the Court to reverse a Ninth Circuit Appeal Court ruling that refused to recognize filing a lawsuit in another country satisfies the two-year statute of limitations for claims against airlines on international trips. 

In FlyersRights’ previous filing in MacLean v. US Department of Homeland Security, the Supreme Court agreed with our position – that the Whistle Blower Protection Act does apply to the Dept. Of Homeland Security and protects Sky Marshals and TSA workers who notify the public of serious malfeasance or misdeeds affecting aviation security by the government.

See our Press Release:

Ninth Circuit Delivers Blow to Passenger Rights: 

Appeal Filed with Supreme Court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2016 – Washington, DC: 
FlyersRights.org, the nation’s largest airline passenger organization, has joined forces with an aggrieved airline passenger whose personal injury claim was denied by a Federal Appeals court. 
In a hastily written and very short 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit struck a blow to passenger rights guaranteed by the Montreal Convention. There was, however, a very lengthy dissenting opinion. 
FlyersRights and Travelers United have filed an amici curiae briefwith the Supreme Court after the passengers filed an appeal. 
In  Von Schoenebeck v. KLM a seat back collapsed on the head of a passenger, causing severe spinal injuries. The airline refused to compensate the passenger for the injuries, even up to the no fault or strict liability amount for personal injury found in the Montreal Convention. Instead, the airline sought a bond for its own attorney fees and costs from the passenger in the South African court. The airline suggested the passenger litigate in the United States, and when the passenger filed in California, the airline sought dismissal based on a novel interpretation of the 2-year statute of limitations. 
The Ninth Circuit refused to recognize claims against airlines timely filed in other countries unless also filed in the United States. This is a shocking interpretation of the Montreal Convention, the treaty providing for airline passenger rights in international travel. The Montreal Convention was designed to achieve uniformity of rule governing causes of action against airlines. Unless reversed by the Supreme Court, airline passengers on international flights will have to file claims against airlines in multiple countries in order to preserve their rights. 
FlyersRights also has an appeal pending in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the FAA’s refusal to regulate seat size and leg room on airplanes. 
***

Reps. Cohen and Kinzinger to Re-introduce Airplane SEAT Act Early Next Year

  

Nowadays, airline passengers pretty much assume that airline seats will shrink to nothing. 

Fortunately our friends on Capitol Hill,  Congressmen Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) announced this week they’re again introducing the Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act into Congress, in attempts to halt the sardine seat trend in the airline industry. 

“As millions take to the skies this week for the holiday season, it is a reminder of our obligation to ensure air travel is safe for passengers,” said Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) on Monday. 

He continued, “The time to examine the safety implications of smaller airplane seats is now, not after some future tragedy. Planes need to be capable of rapid evacuation in case of emergency, yet appropriate testing has not been conducted by the FAA on all of today’s smaller seats. In addition, doctors have warned that deep vein thrombosis can afflict passengers who don’t move their legs during longer flights. The safety and health of passengers must come first. That is why Congressman Kinzinger and I will be reintroducing the SEAT Act early next year during the new Congress. 

“This time of year is a busy time of travel for people in Illinois and across the country, and it is critical that safety is our top priority.” 

Press Release 

Another Reason To Order 
Or Renew Your Passport

Driver licenses from nine states won’t be valid IDs for domestic flights in 2018. 
This means bad news for Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington: Starting January 22, 2018, driver’s licenses issued by these states will  no longer be accepted at TSA checkpoints. They fail to meet the federal government’s minimum security standards under the Real ID Act. 
In order for states to pass the government’s security standards, they must verify every ID applicant’s identity, put anti-counterfeit technology in the production of the card and conduct background checks on those who issue driver’s licenses. 
So, travelers have to use another form of identification to pass through security for domestic flights- such as a military ID, permanent resident card, or passport.
First flight became reality 113 years ago
December 17, 1903 the first flight took place – 113 years ago on a windswept beach at North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the Wright brothers made the world’s first powered, heavier-than-air flight. With Orville and Wilbur alternating as pilot, the plane made four flights that day. 
The first airplane flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. The longest distance covered that day was 852 feet in 59 seconds – an average speed of 31 miles an hour. 
In only a few decades, the airplane became a vital part of America’s economy and defense, as well as a form of transportation relied upon by an increasing number of people. 
Now, aircraft manufacturers in the U.S. do just over $123 billion of business annually.


It’s worth remembering how far aviation has come,” said Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights. “Aviation started with private funding, then was subsidized by taxpayers. 
Hopefully, affordability, service and comfort in air travel going forward will improve along with technology. But the reverse [will happen] if based solely on for-profit, unregulated monopoly-seeking corporations. 
Compare the agenda of Airlines for America, The International Air Transport Association and Boeing/Airbus with FlyersRights’ agenda. 
Airlines and airports seek to drive revenue per passenger ever higher, service ever lower, while FlyersRights is pressing for the opposite. 
All passengers are funding the industry agenda involuntarily, but must fund the passenger-side voluntarily. By doing nothing, passengers are really helping the airline industry side and only you can change this by supporting the passenger side now. 
Paul Hudson
President
This holiday season the airlines have a gift for you; a sack of hidden fees! 

Only YOU can help Tiny Tim, the Cratchit family and your fellow passengers 
from being Scrooged over and over in 2017:

Flyers Rights Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) charity to which contributions are tax deductible. Also consider adding us to your employer’s gift matching program.
FlyersRights’ founder and spokesperson, Kate Hanni, is available for media interviews regarding holiday air travel! 
To reach our airline expert Kate Hanni for interview requests, call +1 707-337-0328.
Getting on a Plane? 
Put This Number in Your Phone:
1 (877) Flyers6
  1 (877) 359-3776
The FlyersRights HOTLINE!
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