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After over a million flight delays, CT senator introduces airline passenger protections

Ahead of the winter storm in which Southwest canceled more than 16,000 flights, Tina Romeo and Chris St. John check their luggage at Bradley International Airport December 22, 2022.
Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
Ahead of the winter storm in which Southwest Airlines canceled more than 16,000 flights, Tina Romeo and Chris St. John check their luggage at Bradley International Airport on Dec. 22, 2022.

After a holiday season involving thousands of canceled flights, missed holidays and additional fees, U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) reintroduced airline passenger protection legislation this week.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that through October of 2022, major airlines canceled over 144,000 flights and delayed more than 1.1 million flights — totaling 76 million minutes of delay.

The Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights and FAIR Fees Act would put in place consumer protection for flyers, including setting standards for passenger compensation and recourse in the event of airline-caused flight delays and cancellations.

Blumenthal says this legislation is necessary, and he would like the support of his Republican colleagues.

“It has never been more uncomfortable and unpredictable, or more stressful, to travel by air,” says Blumenthal. “And that’s why the airlines need to be given some incentives to do the right thing and consumers need protection.”

Blumenthal says the passenger bill of rights is not only supported by consumers, but also by airline employees. He says they are as much victims of the airlines’ bad management as the passengers. He adds, “What Southwest did was airline malpractice that inflicted harm on its own employees as well as consumers.”

Both senators hope to see these two bills pass by the end of this year.

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