Jan 9, 2014|
Angela talks with Paul Hudson of FlyersRights.org about how airlines can better serve stranded travelers.
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Angela talks with WWL-TV investigative reporter Katie Moore and Tulane law professor Tania Tetlow about the city's backlog of uninvestigated rape cases.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
We start with what kept me and tens if not hundreds of thousands of people from getting home. A record breaking Arctic storm that just didn't seem to end. It was a transportation nightmare in particular paralyzing airports. I was supposed to be home Friday and got home Tuesday night. And yet I feel lucky that it only took two cancellations. And four days. It's frustration with the very real sense of powerlessness. But does it have to -- flyers do have rights. And to learn what rights we have even in a weather disaster. And what might change after this travel disaster. We have the executive director of the nonprofit organization. Flyers rights Paul Hudson. Mr. Hudson thank you so very much for joining us. -- leader. And we do have rights don't. Well yes and no match. It certainly isn't in broad terms you know you have very few write about it and airline passenger. -- airlines are pretty well been exempted from all state and local consumer protection laws and most tort law. And so all they had from -- regulations that they DOT's federal government provides in her few. A few rules content that -- passengers for the most part. You're only the only recourse as scores individually. In the competition is to complain and lecture killed or critically injured. Really don't know much legal recourse we're trying to -- the gap with the with the -- -- airline passengers and real congress except this year. -- that's step on the current situation. Let's go to this this disaster that was the for the last four dot. Com. One cancellation bad weather you kind of say okay. When you get into the multiples and again -- unlucky because I was only two and I've certainly seen interviews with people who you know 67 cancellations. At what point is there's some responsibility. Moral responsibility nothing else. On the airlines park to at least put them up in a hotel or give them food. Vouchers. Yes well to be that that you were stranded outside your home city -- you would get a hotel and meal vouchers as a matter of course. But now here in Orange on it's it's the weather related know failure on your own. We we think there needs to be a major change in this condition area. Storms are are of course I'm fortunate but they have this thing called picture you happen to great year. In the summertime we have been called work storms won't happen here we have. Utility company when your power goes out people in these global. To restore power to people in the in the north -- -- snowstorms. Sit in Poland -- get extra salt on the street. And that they've told their social conscience had to be paid for. The airline -- gotten themselves in the position where they understand whether they simply playing them on. An act of god and throw their hands up. But there is much which -- don't vote by the airlines voluntarily and -- -- the federal DOT which has the jurisdiction. All all airlines for example and all airports are required to have. I'll continue to play in for a big storms. But they're not record hadn't answered the -- to do they're not required to actually -- students. And there's a number of other things we think. Could relate to situations although you can't limited. I think everybody's pretty realistic about you know it. The contrast of weather weather being in the south where we have hurricane season and all kinds of the kinds of storms much less in the northeast and -- midwest with. The horrible but -- it's that we had this year. What you're trying to say though if it hit not to ban what the airlines call act of god being the storms. If it'd just been you know the plane broke down -- the crew couldn't make it or whatever. Then we would have gotten a food voucher -- hotel. That they -- trying and a Hugh -- you would have that as a matter of course I'm. In those situations. But what's also happening even. Not so much with a big storm the other week. Put interest everyday kind of -- Airlines are one complaint delays and cancellation of winter to Finland actually very problematic. Because they note that if if it's their fault could say don't -- crew they don't have a -- works. They're going to have to pay extra expense. Let's talk about. The passengers paying extra expenses. And -- now in many cases not all but many. 25 dollars to put in one bank not fifty efforts to -- goes up and up enough. He on the plane I was on if I -- -- anything to eat a bag and not so I had to pay for. There was soft drinks and coffee for. If I wanted the extra leg room it was 25 dollars if I wanted to -- more easily accessible. Seat it was 25 dollars. In fact they're making a lot of money. Airlines where -- course. Likely to point out that that they are pregnant awards and in the and they haven't made Crocker but they they leave out what happened in 2000. In the last year Maryland structure of basically doubles and all the airlines and US airlines and making. Due to recent trip -- -- which you mentioned. Baggage fees. And what changed in which have gone up astronomically and the record not a regulator controlled. The baggage fees -- in my corrected now in the billions of dollars are making. Yes -- the baggage fees there are based at least a billion dollars and. Beyond -- on one account I change fees are now up to about one point eight billion dollar. They started out a few years ago they were 25 dollars. And they've they've now escalated up to 202 to fifty domestically. And up to 500. Internationally. I recently had a an experience where this was prior to Christmas. Because of bad weather could not get to Chicago my 375. Dollar ticket. Which I'd gotten months ahead at the at the very best rate. Having to drop that I lost 200 dollars. That's a lot. Yes and and it's it's far and that's what they want those kind of fees are sort of content. The DOT has had the power. To prevent deceptive. And -- and unfair practice. And we think fees that are more than say triple or quadruple. What it actually cost the airline Internet Canaccord. We have this for gasoline on the east it is. Here's some kind of storm whatever. You you can't be charged a fifteen dollars a gallon for -- Very good very very good point. Let's let's talk about how your organization which is 25000. Strong and growing. Got going. Kick started by. One passenger. King and I. We saw on vacation towards Stanley and she got caught over New Year's weekend 2006. Give me a strange situation. By American Airlines. They were due to land and -- -- I mentioned the debt can count and other passengers. Were scattered all our that region in -- -- 210. Hours on the tarmac. Should put up a block from that and within a matter we. She had -- surprise. Over 101000 people signed an organization. Now canceled 30000. And wires stretched toward. Principally responsible -- -- three -- woke. Which in 2010. Has prohibited Ireland and -- -- -- permanent -- hours. That I remember when that came out it was so I literally cheered. Because there's nothing worse than being trapped. And that's really what you walk and there's really no excuse. For anyone to be on a tarmac 456789. Hours in make no makes no cents. Battling intensity airlines because grilling was quick look at -- commercial convenient. Because if they let you the plane com. That could cause and an extra expenses and some people wouldn't -- in your trip and be entitled to. When we come back I would like to talk to about wind. I think it was a period we all understood that there was on some financial stress going on with the airline industry. When did this change the shift. -- were paying for everything that we have to whether it's the seat her the next thing I'm going to the bathroom if they start charging for that I'm done. But I wanna know about that -- -- know about the future work that flyers rights is doing to stay with its. Our guest today is Paul Hudson president of flyers rights. We are we were talking about the many changes that have happened in airline industry but in fact you feel that they are economically healthy now. There was a time when they were. Not really stretch to let nobody wanted to see the airlines. Fail they want them to succeed and yet I think most people will agree. That were kind of feeling like cattle at this point going on these planes and I have to say that the majority of the greatest majority of people employees of airlines whether that the ticket people are the certainly the pilots etc. Kind of look is unhappy about the changes as those of us who travel. Mr. -- and your thoughts. Well the airlines. Caught a cold wind in the last several years of personal. They shrunk from ten major carriers to. Only here for. In the last ten years thank you through bankruptcy they don't shed most of what he should cost. And the labor which are number one I don't really expect. And they're number two and control that and stable or going down so sick and hurt her in the course -- economies -- But the passengers are really not sure. And it's especially important that we think are actually New Orleans which depend so heavily. On safe affordable into the air travel to -- people and -- content. That is beautifully sent. Very very important and and yet. Other than organizations like yours and yours is the largest nonprofit. You know advocate consumer advocate organization. Are we making any headway. Well we're focusing on. It's been 35 years and so. Influenced accurately we think -- can tie talent for congress to correct the abuses and crept into the system. Under. Into legislation yesterday. And tactically -- -- tradition. Okay -- two years that's coming up. People can contact their representatives to congress and tell them that they want to see. Airline passenger rights become real. We have proposal on our web site. -- -- -- -- It's in the details in -- number I'm nineteen. -- and -- And it really is going to require that passengers on the militias known because you can be sure you're going to -- They're written on. The changes should occur. Well certainly for people like you who do all the homework for all of us to say you know what the airlines are making money. And it's not that they we don't want them to make money but shouldn't be at the expense of those who were helping them make the money which are the people like you and me uses those seats. Yes we would certainly agree the airlines need to make money. And the federal government which. Like most under this were Jewish state federal responsibility. In this case it's it's entirely federally regulated. Un. Secretary fox militias control went on the latest disaster. And he should be out there. Troubling your lines and making sure that he. Tiger care safety and the air transportation system in the United States doesn't break camp because Osama. In retrospect. Well they were significant they were not really. Major storms that they've known in the past. And I think he brought at the very important point that there has to be contingency plans and probably some airport to do have them more than others that. I can't thank you -- sir for taking time to talk to us and we're gonna stay in touch with you and I hope you will with us as legislation hopefully does get past that time. At least puts the passenger in the loop. Thank you very much for the work you do and again we'll stay in touch. Thank you very much for -- --