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Consumer Advocates Push Back Against Easing Of Airline Regulations

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Are airlines more concerned with helping passengers or improving their bottom line?

Long delays have left airline passengers stranded in terminals and on the tarmac.

Some feel fees are unfair.

“I think it’s all about the money, I really do,” Lisa Madar said.

Regulating the airline industry is mainly the job of the Transportation Department, which late last year invited airlines to put in a wish list of regulations they’d like to see relaxed or done away with.

With so many people now booking flights online, many airlines want to get rid of the 24 hour protection allowing passengers to make changes.

“I’ve had plenty of instances of mistakes were made,” Danielle Junior said.

“If we make one tiny mistake they immediately want to whack us for $200,” passenger advocate, Charlie Leocha said.

He said what is also on the industry wish lists could leave you unaware of your rights and possible compensations.

“They want to get rid of the rules that they have to give you information in writing,” he said.

Leaders of consumer groups say they want more regulations from the feds on the airline industry, not relaxed or fewer ones.

“Those regulations protect the consumer, and I’m all for regulations that protect the consumer,” Rhoda Lemkin said.

In a late afternoon email, the industry group Airlines for America said now is the time for smarter regulation, and a shift away from a federal practices of micromanagement and regulatory interference in the market.

They added that fares are historically low, and competition is robust.

Leocha said he doesn’t believe the industry will be allowed to roll back regulations.

“Frankly not many of them are going to get through,” he said.

He worries one day crucial regulations could fly away if no one is watching.

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