Available for Interviews: Christopher Elliott
Christopher Elliott is an author, advocate, and journalist. He writes six weekly columns about customer service, with a special emphasis on travel and technology. His work reaches more than 10 million readers a week. You
have likely read his work in USA Today or Forbes.
What Travel Expert and Consumer Advocate, Christopher Elliot,
could say about the Government Role in Airline Travel Safety:
“Passengers have only a vague idea of what the government is doing to help them.” –Chris Elliott
In his recent blog at ChrisElliott.com Chris Elliott explores the topic of our government’s role in doing its part to protect airline passengers during the pandemic.
Some talking points on the topic of the DOT and airline travel:
- The ways in which DOT’s role in consumer protection efforts have never been more important: From refunds to pandemic-related mask rules, the government is solely responsible for enforcing air travel consumer protections.
- How the DOT has gone beyond securing refunds for travelers do to cancelled flights and other issues surrounding the pandemic by proposing rules to better regulate travel by air with service animals, defining unfair and deceptive practices by airlines, finalizing rules on the length of time passengers can be stranded in a plane on the tarmac, compensation paid to travelers bumped from a flight because of oversales, and mishandled-baggage liability limits.
- The Department of Transportation (DOT) logged 62,780 complaints from March through June of this year—a 1,103% increase from the same period in 2019.
- The DOT has fined just five airlines a total of $1.3 million in 2020—taking even fewer enforcement actions against airlines this year than last year’s record low (eight). It will also have collected the smallest amount in airline fines since 2008. They have been particularly hard on international airlines—Three of the five orders totaled $920,000 in fines.
- According to the National Association of Attorneys General, a letter to Congress signed by 40 state and territory attorneys general, the association urged lawmakers to enact new consumer protections for airline passengers. Among them: authorizing state attorneys general to enforce federal airline consumer protection laws—like new remedies for travelers looking for refunds or complaints about bad service.
- Some say the DOT has ignored the crucial need for a mask requirement on planes during the pandemic. So far, the department has urged passengers to follow the recommendations of public health authorities. But it hasn’t issued a mask rule for air travel.
- Others feel regulators have missed many opportunities to protect consumers, like not exercising their authority to issue guidelines or regulations for temperature checks on air travelers.
Read Christopher Elliott’s full story here:
2020 will be a defining year for passenger rights. The DOT will have worked harder than ever on behalf of air travelers. But it may also lose its job as air travelers’ sole protector.
Interview: Christopher Elliott
Christopher Elliott, author of two books which are practical guides that help people make smarter purchases: How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler (And Save Time, Money and Hassle) (National Geographic) and Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals (Wiley). He founded two nonprofit organizations for consumers. Elliott Advocacy is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers people to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. Elliott.org helps readers through direct advocacy, journalism on an ad-free website and maintaining the largest database of executive contact information on the Internet. He also co-founded Travelers United, a nonprofit organization that works in Washington to help travelers. Elliott also writes six weekly columns that have a combined reach of 10 million readers, including The Washington Post, USA Today, and Forbes, and his articles can be seen in newspapers and magazines across the country.
In addition to being a nationally-recognized expert on customer service, Elliott is an inveterate traveler. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, and scuba diving. His weekly family travel column for USA Today chronicles his never-ending journey around the world with his three children. Elliott is based in Prescott, Arizona.
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