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Landings: Opinions: RE: Nothing new for Passengers: Airlines Dictate, Passengers pay and do as they are told - period

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By: Rick Constant
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It is no wonder that there are more incidents with what the airlines call 'unruly' passengers. Airlines and the industry in general view the flying public as a captive market which pays for and does everything it is told - at any cost, including their lives.

For example, last winter thousands of people were stranded at the airport and in airplanes - some for up to eight hours. This happened at Northwest's Detroit Metropolitan Airport because of a snowstorm which apparently caught the airline by surprise - th is in the age of satellite imagery and high-tech weather forecasting equipment in an industry where bad weather has severe consequences?

During this episode, hundreds were trapped in airplanes without food, with toilet facilities overflowing - some for up to eight hours. There is no excuse for this kind of treatment. If jail-birds were treated in like manner it would be called cruel and unusual punishment but a recent Transportation Department report merely ruled that Northwest "violated no federal regulations."

Richard Shelby, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee (R-Ala.) who had sponsored a 'passenger-rights' provision for a Fiscal 2000 transportation bill dropped the provision thanks to the heavy handed lobbying by the airlines. Aviation Week and Space Technology of June 7, 1999 (p. 23) quotes him as saying that his decision came "after so many visits by airline representatives that his office 'felt like it was a chalet at the Paris air show."

Another example is the fact that a safer alternative to conventional airliners has existed for over 60 years but the designer and his company have been prevented from building that aircraft at the expense of the taxpayer and the flying public - which they pay for with the fruit of their labor and sometimes with their lives.

If the American people are willing - as they have been thus far - to put up with this kind of abuse they will continue being treated like sheep and die when they could have lived because they failed to demand what was rightfully theirs. After all, who pays for air travel?

It is up to the passengers to demand their rights for proper service and air transport safety. There is a safer alternative to conventional airliners - and at less cost - but passengers won't get it until they demand it.

Tell your representative in Congress about Demand your rights and demand that companies be allowed to compete rather than passengers being the victims of a cartel.

July 18, 1999

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NOTE: Reviews and Opinions do not necessarily represent those of Landings, its personnel and employees.

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