Consumer groups try to revive Clear Airfare Amendment with “crucial” fix

When we last checked on Sen. Robert Menendez Clear Airfare Amendment, it was roadkill. The Air Transport Association had apparently gutted the legislation in plain view, leaving consumer groups to watch in stunned silence.

But it looks like the proposed law’s wounds were not mortal, after all. The Consumer Federation of America and the Consumer Travel Alliance, in consultation with several industry groups, have breathed new life into the legislation.
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Airline lobbying: so where’s the money going?

capitolFollow the money. It’s not just a memorable quote from All The President’s Men, but words to live by if you’re one of the last customer advocates standing.

So this morning I decided to do just that with my good friends at the Air Transport Association, who have spent about $2.5 million lobbying Congress so far this year. I suspect the airline advocates had a hand in hijacking the passenger rights cause, which culminated in a media circus earlier this week. Made me wonder where all of ATA’s money was going.

Here’s a bird’s-eye view, according to Opensecrets.org.
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Have airlines neutralized the passenger rights movement?

gateI was thrilled when I heard that a coalition of travel professionals was meeting in Washington for a what they called a “stakeholder hearing” on passenger rights. Finally, after years of virtually no representation in the nation’s capital, passengers appeared to be organizing.

Some of the folks who are involved in this effort seem to be genuine advocates for travelers, and I wish them well.

But when I read over the itinerary and began conducting my own research, the thrill was quickly replaced by dread.
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Delusional airline industry pats itself on the back for “amazing” customer service

wreckLook up the word “delusional” in the dictionary and you’ll see a plane and the address of the Air Transport Association in Washington.

Case-in-point: the just-released annual economic report (PDF), which puts the airline trade group in the same league as the tobacco industry lobbyists of years ago that peddled lies and half-truths to an unsuspecting public.
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