Call for Full Compliance With New Law; Praise Lee, Higgins, Schumer, and Gillibrand for Letter to Secretary LaHood
Buffalo, New York- December 14, 2010 – The ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ are conducting a nationwide outreach to all air travelers, as a result of a Buffalo News survey (http://www.buffalonews.com/city/article282269.ece) and their own research indicating that US Airways and seven of the top ten Internet airline ticketing sites are not immediately disclosing regional air carriers operating flights for mainline carriers under codeshare agreements. With these websites seemingly ignoring a provision in the new aviation safety legislation that became law in August which requires full transparency when in comes to identifying regional carriers, the group is in the midst of an awareness campaign entitled ‘Who’s REALLY Flying Your Plane?”, and is asking concerned passengers to voice their concerns with the Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division.
“Is it frustrating? Is it sad that these websites can’t or won’t follow the law when some of their competitors are doing the right thing by the traveling public?,” asked Scott Maurer, who lost his thrity year old daughter Lorin on Flight 3407. “It’s all of the above and more. This is the information that Lorin and so many others on that flight didn’t have the slightest idea about; information that we now know can have such a significance in terms of the experience level of your pilots and the dollars invested by the airline in training and safety mangement programs. The first step to solving these problems is to make sure that everyone can make a decision based on the information that our loved ones didn’t have, and we are demanding that these companies revisit the manner in which they identify the regionals. And if they’re not sure what we’re talking about, we can make it really easy for them – just check out Orbitz or Yahoo!Travel or even Delta. They are the ones who are doing the right thing.”
The above-referenced legislation (which is included at the bottom of this release) calls for the full disclosure of the regional carrier operating every flight segment of a given itinerary on the initial listing.. The Buffalo News article cited US Airways, and Internet ticketing mainstays Expedia and Travelocity, as well as smaller outlets like Kayak, CheapOair, TripAdvisor, Priceline, and Sidestep, as making it difficult if not impossible for its customers to determine this information. The family group is asking concerned members of the public to file complaints with the Department of Transportation under its policy of unfair and deceptive marketing, of which violations can carry a fine of up to $27,500.
“We have had tremendous support over the past twenty-two months from people across the country who like us want to make sure that a preventable tragedy like this is never allowed to happen again” declared John Kausner of Clarence Center, New York, who lost his twenty-four year old daughter Ellyce. “This is another small but meaningful way that you the flying public can help us make our voices heard. All you need to do is go to our website (www.3407memorial.com), where you can access the link to DOT’s web submission form and phone number, as well as some sample compaints. Please let DOT know that we are counting on them to protect us by enforcing this law, and of course, at the same time we are sending yet another message to the regional airlines and their mainline partners that they must do better when it comes to safety at the regional level.”
The group also praised Congressmen Chris Lee (NY-26) and Brian Higgins (NY-27), as well as Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, for the letter they sent to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood asking for strict enforcement of this provision by DOT.
“We have been the beneficiaries of both tremendous leadership and support by our congressional delegation throughout this entire process, and this time is no different,” stated Karen Eckert of Williamsville, New York, who lost her sister and prominent 9/11 widow and activist Beverly Eckert. “More than just pushing for this specific disclosure requirement, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and Congressmen Lee and Higgins are sending a strong message to DOT, FAA, and the entire airline industry that the implementation of, and compliance with this entire law is not to be taken lightly, and that they will be watching very closely, as will we.”