Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights.org called on DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Huerta explain to the public why it did not designate FAA air traffic controllers (ATC) as essential federal employees making them exempt from the sequestration and why it has not followed the principle of “graceful degradation” instead of across-the-board cuts at choke points like Chicago and New York City, which could cause massive nationwide flight delays.
“As to what airline passengers can do in this unprecedented situation, in the short term FlyerRights.org advises passengers to, a) check the FAA web site at www.fly.faa.gov for real time delay information by airport as well as their airline before they travel, and b) report any delays over 2 hours, especially tarmac confinements to the FlyersRights hotline 1-877-FLYERS6 (877-359-3776) with airport name, airline, flight number and time of delay and reason given and circumstances and/or by email to [email protected] This will enable FlyersRIghts.org to build a database to advocate for a restoration of normal air traffic control services.”
Contacting your Congressional representatives and the White House as well as the DOT airline consumer complaint hotline should not be under estimated in importance,” said Hudson. “Only if Congress and the White House feel public pressure will finger pointing and band aid solutions give way to sensible budget solutions for the federal government, which includes funding of air traffic control services that are clearly essential for air travelers and the functioning of the US economy.”
“While employees are being furloughed across the federal government, the aviation system is unusually visible,” said Hudson, “The federal government does not supply direct services to the American public in most areas,” he said. “This is one that they do.” He said that members of Congress were “playing chicken” over the budget, but that they amounted to “a direct shot to the throat of the economy as well as to air travelers directly.”
FlyersRights.org is the largest non-profit airline passengers rights group in the world; responsible for the 3 hour Tarmac Delay rule and the strongest force behind the increase in bumping compensation and other issues that benefit consumers. For more info visit www.flyersrights.org, e-mail [email protected], or call 1-800-662-1859.