U.S. Se­na­tors de­cry state of air travel after pas­sen­ger in­ci­dents

Cape Breton Post - - World -

Air travel in the United States has be­come a com­bustible mix in which pas­sen­gers aren’t the only ones treated un­fairly, se­na­tors were told Thurs­day. Trav­ellers all too fre­quently take out their frus­tra­tions on air­line em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing flight at­ten­dants and gate agents, speak­ers said at a Se­nate hear­ing.

Se­na­tors from both par­ties said air­lines must im­prove the way they treat their pas­sen­gers, but they also said air­line em­ploy­ees must be treated with re­spect. Law­mak­ers also re­vived talk of a con­gres­sion­ally im­posed “Pas­sen­ger Bill of Rights.’’

The Se­nate hear­ing comes after a pas­sen­ger was dragged off a United Ex­press flight last month and a sep­a­rate in­ci­dent on Amer­i­can Air­lines in which a mother with a stroller was bul­lied by a flight at­ten­dant. Videos of both in­ci­dents were widely cir­cu­lated on so­cial media.

Sen. Bill Nel­son, D-Fla., said air trav­ellers fre­quently tell him they “feel like they’re be­ing treated as self-load­ing cargo rather than as val­ued con­sumers.’’

Pas­sen­gers are so fed up that they are be­com­ing ama­teur de­tec­tives, Nel­son said, us­ing their cell­phones to record in­ci­dents such as the re­moval of United pas­sen­ger David Dao and the heated con­fronta­tion on the Amer­i­can flight.

Widely shared video of a blood­ied Dao be­ing dragged from the United flight, which he had re­fused to leave, sparked world­wide out­rage and led to calls for a con­gres­sional crack­down on U.S. air­lines.

“I take no plea­sure in beat­ing up the air­lines, but in this case, it’s war­ranted,’’ said Nel­son, the top Demo­crat on the Trans­porta­tion Com­mit­tee.

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