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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 14, 2010

SCHUMER CALLS ON LEADING TRAVEL WEBSITES TO FOLLOW LAW THAT REQUIRES CONSUMERS TO BE NOTIFIED WHEN FLYING ON REGIONAL CARRIERS


In August, President Signed Into Law a Schumer-Authored Bill that Requires Travel Sites to Disclose to Travelers Which Carrier is Flying Their Plane

Yet, Major Travel Websites like Priceline, Hotwire, Travelocity, Expedia and Cheapflights Are Still Keeping Customers in the Dark About Who's Flying their Plane

Schumer: Travelers Have a Right to Know Which Carrier is Flying

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer released a letter to 6 leading travel websites calling on the companies to comply with a federal law that requires them to disclose to travelers when they are flying on regional carriers as opposed to a major airline. The Schumer-authored bill became law in August after an intense lobbying effort by the 3407 Families, whose loved ones were never told that they were flying on Colgan Air instead of Continental Airlines. With a busy travel season approaching, major websites like Priceline, Hotwire, Travelocity, Expedia and Cheapflights are currently keeping customers in the dark about who is flying their plane.

 

“The law on this couldn’t be clearer - travelers have a right to know up front which carrier is flying their plane and it’s long past time for major travel websites to comply,” Schumer said. “With the holidays approaching, millions of Americans will use airlines to travel home to see their families, and before they step on the plane they have a right to know exactly which company is flying it.”

 

The February 2009 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 near Buffalo, New York, claimed fifty lives, and caused Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration to focus on the standards governing regional airlines. From this tragic crash the nation  learned that  regional airlines are often not held to the same safety standards to which larger commercial carriers are held. Under the law backed by the 3407 families travel websites are required to disclose to customers if they will be flying on a regional or major airline.

 

An informal search of the websites by Schumer’s staff revealed that major travel websites aren’t currently clearly disclosing on the first page which carrier actually operates a flight. In order to comply with the law, it is necessary that online vendors disclose to consumers up front which air carrier actually operates that flight. 

 

A sample letter of Senator Schumer’s correspondence calling on the travel websites to comply with the law immediately can be seen below:

 

Jeffery Boyd

Chief Executive Officer

Priceline.com

800 Connecticut Avenue

Norwalk, Connecticut 06854

 

Dear Jeffery Boyd:

 

I write to request that Priceline.com put into immediate practice the disclosure of air carriers’ names upon the first online display of available flights for purchase.  I introduced legislation that was included in PL 111-216, The Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010, that requires this disclosure as a means of ensuring full transparence for the flying public.

 

The February 2009 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 near Buffalo, New York, claimed fifty lives, and has caused Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration to focus on the standards governing regional airlines. From this tragic crash we have learned that  regional airlines are often not held to the same safety standards to which larger commercial carriers are held. 

 

For this reason I believe it to be important that online vendors disclose to consumers, upon first viewing a flight, which air carrier actually operates that flight.  In the case of Flight 3407 many Internet sites displayed “Continental Airlines” and not “Colgan Air, Inc.” on the first page.  I ask that Priceline.com immediately comply with PL 111-216, if you do not already do so.

 

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.  If you have any questions or need additional information please contact Katie Kulpa in my Washington, DC office at 202-224-6542.

 

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate

 

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