WASHINGTON (Nexstar) – Democratic senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal are introducing two bills to protect airline passengers following the Southwest Airlines meltdown.
Lawmakers say 2022 was already a turbulent year for the airline industry as Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) explained, “through October of 2022 the major airlines canceled over 144,00 flights. Nearly 50% more than before the pandemic.”
After that came the Southwest meltdown.
“It has never been more uncomfortable and unpredictable, or more stressful to travel by air,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said.
One of the bills being introduced is the Fair Fees Act which Markey says, “prohibits airlines from charging fees including bag, seating, cancelation and change fees that are not reasonable.”
The other bill, the Airline Passengers Bill of Rights, would provide other protections like ensuring quick refunds to passengers for cancellations and excessive delays. It would also ensure passengers are paid a minimum of $1,350 dollars if they’re involuntarily bumped from a flight.
Democrats hope Republicans will support the measures.
“We threw billions of dollars at the airline industry back when nobody was flying,” Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) said.
But Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville says airlines used the money for the wrong things and agrees more oversight is needed.
“We need to bring these CEOs into this building and say, ‘What’s going on?’” Sen. Tuberville said.
Both the U.S. Travel Association and the International Air Transport Association declined Nexstar’s request to comment.