U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Urges DOT to Prioritize Consumers Over Airlines

Senators Express Concern Following DOT's Request for Aviation Industry's Regulation Rollback Wish List

By - Feb 17th, 2018 11:08 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined her colleagues in sending a letter, led by Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao urging the Department of Transportation (DOT) to consider the rights of consumers before rolling back critical protections in the commercial aviation sector.

The letter follows requests from DOT for a list of rules and regulations that are good candidates for repeal, replacement, suspension, or modification. The airline industry filed a 222-page response, including requests to eliminate the requirement for airlines to display the full price of a ticket to consumers when they shop, and a potential weakening of requirements that airlines provide “prompt” service for wheelchair assistance for passengers who experience disabilities, among others.

“It is unacceptable that the DOT is considering rollbacks of critical aviation protections, particularly when the agency has failed to comply with directives in the 2016 FAA extension law mandating refunds of fees for checked baggage that is delayed and requiring airlines to seat families together whenever possible,” the Senators wrote.

“We implore you to take these concerns into account before enacting any DOT rule delays, repeals, or modifications,” the Senators continued. “We look forward to working with you on common sense measures that protect consumers, while preserving a vibrant and safe airspace.”

Senators Baldwin and Hassan were joined by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Ed Markey (D-MA) in sending the letter to Secretary Chao.

The full letter is available below and here.

Dear Secretary Chao:

We write to express our deep concern over reports indicating that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is considering rule changes to roll back critical consumer protections in the commercial aviation sector.

If the airline industry were to achieve its stated goals in responding to your search for “existing rules and other agency actions that are good candidates for repeal, replacement, suspension, or modification,” it would result in weakened protections for consumers, including but not limited to:

  • An elimination of requirements for airlines to display the full price of a ticket to consumers when they shop.
  • An elimination of the 24-hour grace period a customer receives when purchasing an air ticket.
  • An elimination of rules requiring airlines to provide consumers with information about the process to file complaints against an airline with the Department of Transportation.
  • An elimination of airport signage and paper-based consumer notification requirements.
  • An elimination of the need to provide a paper-based explanation of denied boarding compensation.
  • A potential weakening of requirements that airlines provide “prompt” service for wheelchair assistance for passengers who experience disabilities.
  • An elimination of important Notice of Proposed Rulemakings such as one on reporting requirements for airline ancillary fees.

It is unacceptable that the DOT is considering rollbacks of critical aviation protections, particularly when the agency has failed to comply with directives in the 2016 FAA extension law mandating refunds of fees for checked baggage that is delayed and requiring airlines to seat families together whenever possible. We implore you to take these concerns into account before enacting any DOT rule delays, repeals, or modifications. We look forward to working with you on common sense measures that protect consumers, while preserving a vibrant and safe airspace.

Mentioned in This Press Release

Recent Press Releases by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Applauds Senate Passage of Bipartisan Farm Bill That Includes Major Investments for Wisconsin Farmers and Rural Communities

Bipartisan legislation includes improved risk management tools for dairy farmers, grants for Dairy Business Innovation, mental health resources for farmers and provisions to combat fraudulent organic imports

U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Lisa Murkowski’s Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Access to Maternity Care in Rural and Underserved Areas Passes Senate

The legislation will help ensure women have better access to timely, high quality maternity care by identifying provider shortage areas in rural and underserved communities

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Announces Over $51 Million to Rebuild and Improve Rural Water Infrastructure in Wisconsin

USDA funds will be used to improve access to clean, reliable water and waste disposal systems for homes and businesses in Wisconsin rural communities

One thought on “U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Urges DOT to Prioritize Consumers Over Airlines”

  1. JMac says:

    Flying these days is not the most consumer friendly experience; often leaving us powerless to cope with delays, overboooking, etc. Now there is an effort to eliminate some of the few protections flyers have? No!!!

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us