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AARP ~ Surprising Airline Rules ~ AARP


 Bumpy Air Travel Rules

by Eileen Ambrose | AARP | April 12, 2017

En español | Unless all your devices have been on airplane mode, you’ve seen the video of a passenger being dragged off a United Airlines flight so his seat could be given to one of the carrier’s employees.

United’s CEO initially defended the forced — and bloody — removal, saying the airline has a right to bump passengers even though they paid for their tickets and were already seated. For many consumers, this was a shocking education on passenger rights — or lack of them.

“There are hundreds of rules that are listed in different documents that nobody reads,” says Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare, a travel information website. “It’s like your Apple phone. It asks you, ‘Do you agree to the terms?’ and it’s a 60-page document. Who is going to read that before they press ‘yes’?”

You’ll find the rules are spelled out in each airline’s “contract of carriage” or “conditions of carriage.” They vary from carrier to carrier. Here are some of them:

Overselling and bumping The practice of selling more tickets than there are available seats is legal. Airlines have been allowed to overbook to financially protect themselves against passengers who don’t show up and then claim a refund. Empty seats cost airlines money. Carriers also are permitted to bump passengers if too many of them show up.

In this recent case, the flight was fully booked — not oversold — when four United crew members tried to get to their destination by bumping passengers. Typically, airlines will first offer a financial incentive. They can offer any amount to people who voluntarily give up their seat, starting, say, with a $100 voucher for a future flight.

Under federal requirements, domestic passengers who are involuntarily bumped can receive up to $1,350 — and get it in cash. (You are most likely to be involuntarily bumped if you’re not part of the airline’s loyalty program, you purchased a cheap ticket and checked in close to takeoff, Seaney says.)

But this overselling practice is no longer needed, Seaney says. Years of experience and computer technology help airlines forecast cancellations, he says. Plus, now that some airlines charge a $200 fee to change a flight — about the cost of many tickets — it’s rare for passengers not to show up, he says.

United’s offer didn’t receive any takers, so the airline said it randomly selected seated passengers to be involuntarily bumped. One man balked and was dragged off.

“Once a pilot, flight attendant or gate agent says you are going to be removed from a plane, there is zero tolerance for [resistance] in the age of terrorism,” Seaney says.

“It should have never got to that situation,” he adds, saying the airline could have made a more generous offer before anyone boarded. It may have cost United a couple thousand dollars, but it would have saved the airline tens of millions of dollars in bad PR, he says.

“You’re wearing that?”: Airlines can prevent you from traveling on their planes if what you are wearing is deemed inappropriate. United, again, made headlines last month when it stopped two teens from embarking because the girls wore leggings. The girls were flying on a type of ticket for United employees and their dependents, but the airline told the New York Times that a dress code applies to all travelers.

The rules are vague, and it’s up to individual airline employees to decide whether you violate them, Seaney says. “They are the judge and jury. Definitely, certain people have different moral codes than others,” he says.

Size matters: As with attire, airline staffers have discretion on whether you’re taking up too much room and must buy another seat. (Some airlines, though, will seat “passengers of size” next to an empty seat if it’s available without charging them extra, Seaney says.)

Pay up front: Make a purchase through a retailer, say Amazon, and the retailer won’t charge it to your credit card until the item is shipped. But airplane tickets are considered contracts, Seaney says, so the charge will appear on your credit card at the time of booking — even though your flight may be months away.

And what if you are entitled to a refund for a canceled flight? Instead of crediting your account immediately, airlines can wait up until two billing cycles to refund your money, Seaney says.

Broken items: If you place electronics or other valuable items in your checked luggage and they break in transit, you’re out of luck. They aren’t covered by the baggage insurance, and you won’t be compensated.

Lost luggage: You are entitled to compensation if your luggage is lost or damaged. But you’ll get much more if this luggage problem occurs on a domestic flight — which comes under federal regulations — than on an overseas flight that’s governed by international law, says George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com, a travel information website.

If you are traveling overseas and concerned about not being adequately compensated for lost luggage, consider purchasing insurance for checked bags from the airlines, Hobica says.

No guarantees: Transportation is not guaranteed — and neither are many other features of flying, Hobica says. “Most contracts say, ‘We don’t guarantee to get you there on time. We don’t guarantee that you will have a particular seat on the plane. We are not obligated to serve you,’” he says.

Of course, there are many more rules on air rights that would be useful for travelers to know. Hobica suggests that consumers at least once in their lives read an airline’s “contract of carriage.”

“Do it while they’re not listening to the safety demo,” he says.

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He Had a Dream – Celebratin​g Martin Luther King Jr. Day ::Black History


mLKjrDr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s leadership of the American Civil Rights Movement achieved more genuine progress toward racial equality in America than the previous 350 years had produced. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest leaders in world history. Our country is celebrating his birthday on January 21. Check out these classroom resources, activities, and lesson plans to learn more about him:

Lawrence Guyot : a Civil Rights Leader, in memory of


By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON November 25, 2012 (AP)

Lawrence Guyot, a civil rights leader who survived jailhouse beatings in the Deep South in the 1960s and went on to encourage generations to get involved, has died. He was 73.

Guyot had a history of heart problems and suffered from diabetes, and died at home in Mount Rainier, Md., his daughter Julie Guyot-Diangone said late Saturday. She said he died sometime Thursday night; other media reported he passed away Friday.

A Mississippi native, Guyot (pronounced GHEE-ott) worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and served as director of the 1964 Freedom Summer Project, which brought thousands of young people to the state to register blacks to vote despite a history of violence and intimidation by authorities. He also chaired the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which sought to have blacks included among the state’s delegates to the 1964 Democratic National Convention. The bid was rejected, but another civil rights activist, Fannie Lou Hamer, addressed the convention during a nationally televised appearance.

Guyot was severely beaten several times, including at the notorious Mississippi State Penitentiary known as Parchman Farm. He continued to speak on voting rights until his death, including encouraging people to cast ballots for President Barack Obama.

Lawrence Guyot.JPEG
AP
FILE – Lawrence Guyot, a Student Nonviolent… View Full Caption
FILE – Lawrence Guyot, a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee member in Mississippi during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s recalls his work in Hattiesburg and the women who assisted in the struggles, in this Oct. 22, 2010 file photo taken in Hattiesburg, Miss.His daughter Julie Guyot-Diangone said late Saturday Nov. 24, 2012 he died late Thursday or early Friday outside Washington, D.C. at the age of 73. Guyot, a civil rights leader who survived jailhouse beatings in the Deep South in the 1960s and went on to encourage generations to get involved in various causes, had a history of heart problems and suffered from diabetes. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) Close

“He was a civil rights field worker right up to the end,” Guyot-Diangone said.

Guyot participated in the 40th anniversary of the Freedom Summer Project to make sure a new generation could learn about the civil rights movement.

“There is nothing like having risked your life with people over something immensely important to you,” he told The Clarion-Ledger in 2004. “As Churchill said, there’s nothing more exhilarating than to have been shot at — and missed.”

His daughter said she recently saw him on a bus encouraging people to register to vote and asking about their political views. She said he was an early backer of gay marriage, noting that when he married a white woman, interracial marriage was illegal in some states. He met his wife Monica while they both worked for racial equality.

“He followed justice,” his daughter said. “He followed what was consistent with his values, not what was fashionable. He just pushed people along with him.”

Susan Glisson, executive director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi, called Guyot “a towering figure, a real warrior for freedom and justice.”

“He loved to mentor young people. That’s how I met him,” she said.

When she attended Ole Miss, students reached out to civil rights activists and Guyot responded.

“He was very opinionated,” she said. “But always — he always backed up his opinions with detailed facts. He always pushed you to think more deeply and to be more strategic. It could be long days of debate about the way forward. But once the path was set, there was nobody more committed to the path.”

Glisson said Guyot’s efforts helped lay the groundwork for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“Mississippi has more black elected officials than any other state in the country, and that’s a direct tribute to his work,” she said

WASHINGTON November 25, 2012 (AP)

Guyot was born in Pass Christian, Miss., on July 17, 1939. He became active in civil rights while attending Tougaloo College in Mississippi, and graduated in 1963. Guyot received a law degree in 1971 from Rutgers University, and then moved to Washington, where he worked to elect fellow Mississippian and civil rights activist Marion Barry as mayor in 1978.

“When he came to Washington, he continued his revolutionary zeal,” Barry told The Washington Post on Friday. “He was always busy working for the people.”

Lawrence Guyot.JPEG
AP
FILE – Lawrence Guyot, 23, of Greenwood,… View Full Caption
FILE – Lawrence Guyot, 23, of Greenwood, Miss., removed his shirt in Jackson, Miss., to show newsmen where he says Greenwood and Winona police beat him with leather slapsticks, in this June 14, 1963 file photo. His daughter Julie Guyot-Diangone said late Saturday Nov. 24, 2012 he died late Thursday or early Friday outside Washington, D.C. at the age of 73. Guyot, a civil rights leader who survived jailhouse beatings in the Deep South in the 1960s and went on to encourage generations to get involved in various causes, had a history of heart problems and suffered from diabetes. (AP Photo/Jim Bourdier, File) Close

Guyot worked for the District of Columbia government in various capacities and as a neighborhood advisory commissioner.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton told The Post in 2007 that she first met Guyot within days of his beating at a jail in Winona, Miss. “Because of Larry Guyot, I understood what it meant to live with terror and to walk straight into it,” she told the newspaper. On Friday, she called Guyot “an unsung hero” of the civil rights movement.

“Very few Mississippians were willing to risk their lives at that time,” she said. “But Guyot did.”

In recent months, his daughter said he was concerned about what he said were Republican efforts to limit access to the polls. As his health was failing, he voted early because he wanted to make sure his vote was counted, he told the AFRO newspaper.

Tell Congress: Support pregnant workers … a repost


by Emily J. Martin

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching — but for some moms, celebrating is the last thing on their minds.

Because Congress has failed to act, some pregnant women might be spending this holiday facing an impossible choice between risking their health and risking their family’s economic security.

Tell Your Members of Congress
to Support Pregnant Workers

No mom-to-be should be forced to choose between risking her health and risking her family’s economic security this Mother’s Day. Write to your Members of Congress now.

Lots of pregnant women don’t need any changes on the job, but some do, and for them the stakes are high. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is commonsense legislation that would require employers to make reasonable accommodations when workers have a medical need for them because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions — just as employers are already required to do for people with disabilities.

Over the next several weeks, we’re turning the pressure up to raise awareness and take action in support of pregnant workers. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will be re-introduced in Congress soon. But to give it a strong start, we need to make sure we have as many co-sponsors on the bill as possible.

It’s time we turn it up a notch and push for what moms really need. Please take a minute to honor the mothers in your life by supporting the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

Thanks for all that you do.

Sincerely,
Emily J. Martin
Vice President and General Counsel
National Women’s Law Center