Booker, Menendez Announce Legislation Aimed At Improving Airline Accountability

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — After recent trouble between airlines and travelers, there is now a new effort to make airlines more responsible for how they treat passengers.

But will the push ever make it off the ground?

The forced removal of a passenger proved to be a huge black eye for United Airlines and the entire airline industry — prompting increased calls for airline reform and greater sensitivity to passengers.

“Like most Americans I was disturbed beyond belief by the video captured that day,” Senator Robert Menendez said.

On Monday, at Newark Airport, Menendez, and Senator Cory Booker announced plans for legislation which they claim will increase airline accountability and consumer protections.

“There are problems right now with the way our airlines are treating passengers,” Booker said.

The Tickets Act, as it’s known, focuses on transparency, improvements, and compensation to keep every ticket holder safe.

The major components prohibits airlines from removing boarded passengers except for security or health issues, CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported.

It also eliminates the $1,350 cap on compensation offered to bumped passengers, requires airlines to post their policies for removing passengers on flight itineraries at airline gates.

Some airlines have already acted on their own — offering up to $10,000 if travelers get bumped unwillingly, and promise not to remove seated passengers from flights.

The senators said their proposal offers more specifics and that the changes would be industry-wide.

“It’s certainly been a wake up call that the airline industry is desperately in need of,” Menendez said.

“When you buy a plane ticket, you don’t surrender your right to common decency,” Booker added.

The question is, can it happen?

CBS News travel expert, Peter Greenberg said as well intentioned a sit may be, the legislation may never make it out of committee.

“Every state legislature at one time or another has tried to introduce passenger rights as legislation. That gets thrown out in the courts because airlines are protected by federal deregulation laws,” he said.

Greenberg said ultimately, any change on existing rules may have to come from the department of transportation.

The senators plan would require flight crews seeking accommodation on the plane to arrive further in advance — checking in 60 minutes before departure.

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