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DOT travel announcement and Q&A: October 19, 2016, 10am-12pm PDT

DOT travel announcement and Q&A: October 19, 2016, 10am-12pm PDT

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Old Oct 19, 16, 1:05 pm
  #61  
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Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
Is there anything in the works to address passenger abuse of the emotional support animal rules and allows the airlines a little more latitude in dealing with ESAs that seem likely to be disruptive to air crew and other passengers?
In response to beachmouse (1:31pm, #23):

Airlines are never required to permit animals onboard aircraft that are behaving improperly or endangering the safety or health of passengers. Further, the Department had also been actively working on the definition of a service animal through a negotiated rulemaking process that brought together industry representatives, consumer advocates, and the other stakeholders as part of the ACCESS Advisory Committee. However, on Wednesday, October 12, the ACCESS Advisory Committee voted to discontinue discussions on service animals as the service animal discussions reached the point where further talks seemed unlikely to either move towards consensus or generate significant new and useful information. Although we were not able to reach consensus, the service animal discussions have yielded a wealth of information that will greatly benefit the Department as it proceeds to draft its proposed new rule on service animals.

Last edited by IBJoel; Oct 20, 16 at 10:32 am
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Old Oct 19, 16, 1:10 pm
  #62  
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Admin note:

We are closing this thread to new questions, but the DOT will continue to reply to existing posts.

-FT
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Old Oct 19, 16, 1:16 pm
  #63  
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Originally Posted by jdrtravel View Post
Has the DOT considered any regulations about in-fight passenger experience? Specifically, requiring more legroom and seat width, and also requiring meals on flights of a certain length?
In response to jdrtravel (1:38pm, #29):

Last year, the Department’s Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection looked into the issue of legroom on aircraft. Consumer advocates expressed concerns about risk of deep-vein thrombosis and challenges of evacuating planes when narrow seats are installed. FAA has determined that existing legroom on aircraft is safe. Airlines generally believe market forces should determine the type of seats that are on aircraft so long as they are safe. The Advisory Committee declined to make a recommendation on seat sizes.

Last edited by IBJoel; Oct 20, 16 at 10:45 am
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Old Oct 19, 16, 1:20 pm
  #64  
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Originally Posted by jdrtravel View Post
Has the DOT considered any regulations about in-fight passenger experience? Specifically, requiring more legroom and seat width, and also requiring meals on flights of a certain length?
In response to MSPeconomist (1:37pm, #28):

The Department does not have specific requirements regarding seating accommodations for passengers of size but notes that some airlines have specific policies that require passengers of size to purchase an additional seat while other carriers address the issue on a case by case basis.

Regarding emotional support animals, airlines are never required to permit animals onboard aircraft that are behaving improperly or endangering the safety or health of passengers. Further, the Department had also been actively working on the definition of a service animal through a negotiated rulemaking process that brought together industry representatives, consumer advocates, and the other stakeholders as part of the ACCESS Advisory Committee. However, on Wednesday, October 12, the ACCESS Advisory Committee voted to discontinue discussions on service animals as the service animal discussions reached the point where further talks seemed unlikely to either move towards consensus or generate significant new and useful information. Although we were not able to reach consensus, the service animal discussions have yielded a wealth of information that will greatly benefit the Department as it proceeds to draft its proposed new rule on service animals.

Last edited by IBJoel; Oct 20, 16 at 10:45 am
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Old Oct 19, 16, 1:26 pm
  #65  
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Originally Posted by pWei View Post
Thanks DOT.
  1. Requiring the Reporting of Data on Flights Operated by Code-Share Partners
    How do we safeguard against airlines potentially gaming the data? For example, one way to do so might be to create many codeshares for flights likely to be on time, while avoiding such actions on flights unlikely to be on time.
  2. Will data be required to be broken down to flights flown for the marketing carrier by each codeshare partner?
  3. Baggage delivery data - Will data be required to be broken down by each codeshare partner?
  4. Jetbridge crowding - Currently, the jetbridge can become quite crowded and congested, potentially with accumulating gate-checked luggage, pax waiting for their gate-checked luggage, wheelchairs and staff. At times, deplaning pax can barely make it through. Are there safety concerns about such a situation, particularly if there was an emergency, and what is being done to address this issue?
In response to pWei (2:33pm, #49):

On-time performance data reported to DOT is filed on a per-flight basis. Under the new rule, each flight that is either operated by the reporting carrier, or marketed by the reporting carrier and operated by a codeshare partner, will be counted towards to overall monthly on-time performance rating of the reporting carrier.

Baggage handling data is reported by two sets of data. One for flights operated by the reporting carrier, in monthly total; one for all codeshare flights marketed by the reporting carrier, again in monthly total. We cannot break down the records by each codeshare partner.

JetBridge crowding: We will refer your comment regarding Jetbridge crowding to the FAA.

Last edited by IBJoel; Oct 20, 16 at 10:48 am
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Old Oct 19, 16, 1:28 pm
  #66  
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Originally Posted by thepaul500 View Post
After Northwest v. Ginsberg, a consumer’s only avenue of complaint/redress is the Department of Transportation as the court's are basically no longer an option.

The data from this year's Inspector General's report showed that the DOT does not pay attention or enforce regulations when frequent flyer programs change terms without notice.

When is the DOT going to step up and use the enforcement options it has to regulate frequent flyer programs in a meaningful way to protect consumers?
In response to thepaul500 (1:40pm, #31):

The Department is committed to ensuring that airlines treat consumers fairly when they participate in frequent flyer programs. We require that airlines make available a reasonable number of seats for award tickets and that consumers have access to frequent flyer program information on airline websites. The DOT Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently determined that airlines are making a reasonable number of seats available to their members. In addition the Department currently requires that airlines provide reasonable notice to consumers of significant changes to frequent flyer programs but has not defined reasonable notice. The OIG also identified a small number of complaints stating that airlines were not providing reasonable notice regarding program changes to consumers that the OIG believed needed to be addressed. The Department has committed to consider the question of what constitutes reasonable notice through rulemaking by December 31, 2018.

Last edited by IBJoel; Oct 20, 16 at 10:53 am
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Old Oct 19, 16, 1:33 pm
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Spent_All_My_Miles View Post
DOT - thanks for doing this.

I regularly notice situations where an airline knows that departure/arrival information is outdated but is clearly delaying communicating it to passengers.

Airlines may have a reason to do so -- they might know that there is a delay, but not the precise length -- but I think most passengers would prefer an announcement like "there is a delay of at least X minutes but we don't know the exact length yet" to no announcement at all.

When a flight is 5 minutes from scheduled departure, the inbound aircraft has not yet arrived, it is clear that the airline has know of a delay for some time but communicated nothing.

Is there anything in implemented rules, rules in progress, or matters under study, that addresses this or other such situations?

Thanks.
In reply to Spent_All_My_Miles (1:38pm, #30):

DOT currently requires airlines, within 30 minutes after the airline becomes aware of a schedule change, to notify passengers of known cancellations, diversions, and delays of 30 minutes or more. Under DOT rules, the flight status change must be updated on the airline’s website, at the gate, over the reservation phone line upon inquiry, and through texts, emails, or voice message if the airline provides a subscription service through these method for flight status change notification. Airlines must timely update the flight status display boards at airports that are under their control. Our goal is to ensure that passengers and others are notified of significant flight status changes so they can adjust their travel plans as needed.

Last edited by IBJoel; Oct 20, 16 at 10:52 am
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Old Oct 19, 16, 1:33 pm
  #68  
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Thanks for participating and sending us your questions. Signing off.
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