passenger rights 2

Have you ever booked an airline ticket and been hit with a surprise fee at the tail end of the purchase process?  It’s an experience that’s something north of  frustrating.  Well, there’s a Senate bill, The Clear Airfares Act, that calls for fees, charges or surcharges to be disclosed in a straightforward manner before customers input their name and credit card information.

The problem is, the bill doesn’t seem to be gaining any momentum.  Last December, New Jersey Senator, Robert Menendez (D) stood in Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport to announce (with fanfare) that he would be re-introducing the legislation – but to date, nothing has been achieved.  Why so silent now Bob?  (More on “Silent Bob” further down in this post.)

So what can you, Joe Traveler, do when you’re faced with an added fee on your airline ticket?  Apart from writing to your elected representatives, not much.  But keep the faith.  Nobody thought that the “Air Passenger Bill of Rights” would get passed – but it did.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Kevin Smith, the Director of the film “Clerks” (a.k.a. “Silent Bob“) is giving Southwest Airlines a public ass-kicking after they kicked his ass off a flight for being “too fat to fly“.  The incident has generated a number of headlines and massive Twitter traffic since it went down over the past weekend.  While SWA has issued him an apology and a $100 voucher, Smith doesn’t seem to be willing to let the issue rest.  He has recently  issued a challenge to SWA to prove that he is indeed too fat to fly, inviting them to do so before a national TV audience on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”.  He posted to Twitter (where he has 1.6 million followers): “you bring that same row of seats to the Daily Show and I’ll sit in ‘em for all to see on TV.” He wrote that if he couldn’t fit in them, he would donate $10,000 to charity.
  • The next time you think about flying standby on American Airlines, Delta Air Lines or Continental Airlines, be prepared to give the gate agent $50.  American Airlines recently changed it’s policy for flying standby to align with the policies from Delta and Continental.  American, like Delta, now gives special stand-by privileges to elite frequent fliers and charges customers with non-refundable fares $50 to change their departure on the day of travel.  Continental lets some customers change flights for $25 or $50 – but it’s free for elite fliers.  United Airlines still allows regular coach customers fly standby for free.