May 05, 2017

Duckworth Calls on Airline Industry to Expand Consumer Protections for Air Travelers


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - Following the violent and reprehensible removal of a ticketed passenger on a United Airlines flight and a series of unacceptable incidents involving American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today called for expanded consumer protections for air travelers during a Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing. Video of the Senator's remarks is available here and audio is available here.

"Regardless of how a passenger is traveling, whether they have a first class ticket or they're flying coach, whether they're travelling on discounted airfare or paying full price, they should always be treated with respect," said Duckworth. "For far too long, airlines have treated people with disabilities with a disregard that is simply unacceptable. While the treatment of airline passengers highlighted in the media this past month was incredibly awful, for travelers with disabilities, it was yet another example on a long list of poor customer service."

At today's hearing, Duckworth also questioned the aviation industry's decision to lobby the Department of Transportation (DOT) to delay the implementation of a rule that would protect the rights of commercial air travelers with disabilities. Last month, Duckworth sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, calling on Secretary Chao to explain why the DOT is delaying implementation of the rule, which would require air carriers to provide DOT with monthly reports detailing the total number of checked bags, wheelchairs, and motorized scooters, as well as the total number of wheelchairs and mobilized scooters that were mishandled during the reporting period.

As a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security, Duckworth oversees the Federal Aviation Administration and issues related to the aviation industry.