Every few years, Congress has to pass legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the government agency responsible for everything from overseeing the safety of the national airspace to providing grants for critical infrastructure needs at airports.
While it may not have been leading the news, the FAA reauthorization bill President Trump signed into law will begin modernizing airport infrastructure, improving service for the flying public, enhancing transportation safety and security, and boosting aviation industry innovation. This important, bipartisan measure passed the House by a vote of 398-23 and the Senate by a vote of 93-6.
Thanks to this legislation, our economy and passengers will benefit as airport construction projects will move forward, aviation manufacturing gets a boost, and passengers will gain new legal protections during the experience of air travel.
If you fly regularly for work or pleasure, there is a lot to like in this new law – especially if you’re fed up with shrinking airline seats, which will soon be subject to minimum requirements for seat width and for the space between seats. The FAA reauthorization act also strives to make flying a more pleasant experience for airline passengers by:
-Bars airlines from bumping a passenger who already has been seated on the airplane.
-Says that passengers must be allowed to check strollers when flying with a small child and that pregnant passengers can board ahead of others.
-Requires airlines to refund fees to passengers for things they do not receive.
-Makes it illegal to put a live animal in an overhead bin.
-Gives flight attendants a 10-hour rest period between flights, rather than eight hours, from the time their flight touches down until their next takeoff.
-Instructs the Secretary of Transportation to create an “Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights” to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect, that their wheelchairs or other necessary equipment are accommodated, and that they receive appropriate seat assignments.
-Prohibits cellphone calls during commercial flights.
This new law goes to show that when people in Congress put aside their differences, the public comes out the winner. The many reforms in this law will help strengthen American leadership in aviation, create jobs, and improve safety and service for airline passengers.
Member of Congress
October 20, 2018