Congress proposes minimum airline seat standards

A Tennessee congressman on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Aviation has introduced a bill that establishes minimum dimensions for passenger seats on commercial aircraft operating in the United States. The proposed law comes on the eve of the contentious markup session for the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill.
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Do you have enough time to make your flight connection?

Voylodyon/Shutterstock
Voylodyon/Shutterstock
When Mike Conrad bought an airline ticket from Washington to Berlin, the last thing he considered was his connection in Frankfurt, Germany.

But the flight, booked through United Airlines and operated by Lufthansa — an arrangement known as a “codeshare” flight — gave him only 65 minutes on his return between the time he was scheduled to land in Frankfurt and when he would depart for Washington.

“I’m concerned about the connection,” says Conrad, a government worker who lives in Falls Church. “A United agent told me that I’d have plenty of time. But will I?”
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Can this trip be saved? I missed my connection — how about some compensation?

If you miss a connection and your flights aren’t on the same reservation, you’re normally out of luck. But Duane Perry’s circumstances are anything but normal.

He was flying from Philadelphia to Madrid, Spain, on US Airways, and then connecting to a puddlejumper to the Canary Islands. When he made the reservations online, he tried to book the flights together so that his second flight would be protected — in other words, so that if there were an unexpected delay getting into Madrid, he could miss his flight to the Canaries and get placed on the next flight at no cost.

But the system wouldn’t allow him to do that, despite the fact that the second carrier was a Star Alliance member. He had to make two separate reservations. Realizing that the connection time was tight, he asked US Airways if 1 1/2 hours was enough connection time to get to his second flight. A representative assured him it was.
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