Federal Aviation Regulations

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At times, it seems like consumers are plagued by an endless number of old and new flying woes. Delayed landings, lost luggage, high ticket prices, fewer air flights, long lines, excess luggage fees and more stringent security measures are just a few of the many problems that airplane passengers must cope with today. Fortunately, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) provide a number of ways for passengers to address these issues.

Many of the FAA rules and regulations provide standards to protect flying consumers (See: CFR Title 14: Aeronautics and Space, Subchapter F, Part 91 entitled, “General Operating and Flight Rules”). New regulations are always under consideration and many can be commented upon when first published in the Federal Register.

DOT runs an Aviation Consumer Protection Division that provides airplane passengers with numerous ways to try and resolve their problems with specific airlines and airports. On the APCD’s homepage, you can find links to Safety and Security Information, Airline Customer Service Plans, the agency’s organization and functions and special links for filing or otherwise communicating complaints. 

Resolving Consumer Passenger Issues

There are a surprising number of legal questions that can arise from “simply” flying on an airplane. While some may sound frivolous, most of them are important and relate to basic rights recognized and respected by nearly everyone. Here are some consumer flying issues with links for finding helpful resources:

  • If you believe an airline employee has violated your civil rights by discriminating against you while you were flying on their aircraft, you may want to contact officials via this link regarding discrimination.
  • Here’s a link for staying on top of the newest alerts regarding delays and other problems currently developing at various airports (via email). This may prove to be especially useful for frequent business passengers. (General flight delay information is also available via the hyperlink that began this sentence.)
  • To locate the precise security provisions governing the items you can place in your carry-on luggage or what identification you must carry, you might want to visit the Transportation Security Administration’s Web site. (Additional information about consumer goods that can/cannot be taken aboard airplanes can also be found in this airline security pdf ).
  • Those wondering if all of the security checkpoints and confiscations are working may want to visit this TSA link.
  • While no one ever wants to discover that their name is currently on the “No Fly List,” it’s good to know that such a list exists. If you think your rights have been violated because your name wrongfully appears on this list or if you are being mistaken for someone else whose name is on the list, please visit this Web site.

Getting Legal Help

If you believe your flying rights have been violated, you should contact an aviation attorney. This professional can help you determine what really happened and whether you should file a lawsuit to redress your grievances. An aviation lawyer can also help you if you suffered some sort of personal injury during flight turbulence, a crash landing or while being questioned by airline or airport employees.