U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders wants to punish airlines for scheduling flights they know they are unable to properly staff. He has proposed a hefty $55,000 fine for every passenger on flights that are cancelled due to insufficient staffing.
Senator Sanders Wants To Fine Airlines $55,000 Per Passenger When Insufficient Staffing Results In Cancelled Flight
This summer has been one long and continuous display of operational ineptitude by U.S. airlines. The biggest culprit is not the weather, but insufficient staffing.
In a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Sanders airs his objections then proposes a solution.
Sanders seizes upon the controversial allegation by the union representing pilots at American Airlines that AA is knowingly scheduling more flights than it can operate, arguing:
That is simply unacceptable. Let’s be clear. During the pandemic, when air travel came to a near halt, U.S. taxpayers came to the rescue and gave $54 billion too the airline industry. The top eight airlines alone received nearly $50 billion in taxpayer assistance from the federal government.
Sanders then proposes a number of remedies, including prompt refunds for delays over one hour, strengthening tarmac delays fines, and perhaps most controversial, imposing fines on airlines for scheduling flights they are unable to properly staff.
Airlines must be fined $55,000 per passenger if they cancel flights that they know cannot be fully staffed. We cannot allow airlines to increase revenue by encouraging Americans to book flights that corporate executives understand will never take off because of staffing shortages.
I share Sander’s frustration. While $55,000 per passenger seems disproportionate, airlines should be better held accountable for their poor operational performance by the same government that gifted them billions of dollars during the pandemic to maintain full staffing, precisely to avoid what is happening now.
Sanders is a politician too. Consider – how would you prove or disprove that the airline “knew” the flight could not be fully staffed? A bark without a bite…
Really, the place to start is introducing stronger passenger protections, much like the European Union. Those won’t protect against operational ineptitude (we’ve seen a horrible summer of air travel in Europe too), but it will at least compensate passengers for their lost time and inconvenience.
Senator Sanders has proposed a $55,000 per head fine on airlines when flights are cancelled due to insufficient staffing. His caveat that airlines must “know” the flights cannot be fully staff neutralizes the rule, but his proposal indicates growing lawmaker discontent over the sad state of operations in the U.S. airline industry.
Well, that’s going to happen.
At some point I wish politicians on both sides of the extreme, right and left, would actually suggest and propose things that are not fantasy and for which they know will never happen. This kind of posturing just wastes everyone’s time and resources to seek out actual solutions.
Let’s be real, only one side actually proposes anything tangible anymore (aside from laughable culture war bills)
Yeah it’s the republicans.
Democrats want to take is down the path of Marxism.
Market Socialism is the only path that makes sense for the future
Holy sh#t, I figured you were dead. Welcome back.
No personal insults.
@ Matthew — Clearly the solution is another bailout.
If the fine were $55k/pax then would the airline actually pay it? Seems more likely that the govt would make the payments for the airlines
The question to ask is why would other politicians even oppose such a seemingly outrageous idea?
Do we really think all these scoundrels in congress with their diverse stock holdings actually make legislation with the country’s best interest in mind?
Hint – it’s an opening bid. You ask for a lot but expect much less. Also since this would only happen with flights that airlines have listed but for sale but know they can’t fly, the premise is a lot less outrageous than you’d think. It just goes back to making it not worthwhile to break the rules.
it’s not practical… You could actually become a millionaire booking flights and pocketing money from cancelled flights.
I suspect the total fine levied by the FAA is calculated on a $55k per passenger basis, not that each passenger is compensated $55k
For sure. This will not go to the passenger but to Uncle Sam under Sanders’ proposal.
And the Bern never met a tax he couldn’t like, especially when he can call it by another name. About as funny as Gavin Newsom and his party ilk promising gas price relief here in California but allowing the gas tax to increase instead.
Even better comedy from Newsom was the ad he bought in Florida, begging people to come to California, you know because freedom is under attack in Florida, Republican leaders are burning books and making harder to vote…
“I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight,” Newsom states. “Or join us in California where we still believe in freedom.”
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA – Wow. Holy cow, what a freaking clown.
Never thought I’d say this but Bernie’s on to something here. As it stands now, there is ZERO incentive financial or otherwise for airlines to run a reliable operation and provide a pleasant experience. If they do find a way to make money by running a half-assed operation…cool. If they run their operation into the ground….they just go to the government for some more cash because “Too big to fail”. The American consumer loses both ways and right now, the unions and the government are happy to watch American families sleeping all over airport floors. Oh…and if you “don’t like your abysmal experience on our airline, fine. Go fly one of the other US4 who are just as terrible as us.” It’s time to start attaching a real penalty for mismanaged, malfeasance, arrogance, greed and incompetence.
“During the pandemic, when air travel came to a near halt, U.S. taxpayers came to the rescue and gave $54 billion too the airline industry. The top eight airlines alone received nearly $50 billion in taxpayer assistance from the federal government.”
Right….who saw any of this coming. Just like every other bailout package, a total waste Here’s a novel idea. Stop doing it! Stop handing out our tax dollars like it’s candy. But for people like Bernie they are never the problem.
Why $55,000 per passenger and not $500,000 per passenger which the passenger would receive 95% of that?
If it’s $55,000 per passenger and one out of 1,000 flights were cancelled, that means ticket prices might increase $55 per flight each way. If one in 5,000 flights are cancelled, then it’s $11 more per flight for every passenger.
United has, according to one source, 4,500 flights per day so 1 of 1,000 is only 4 to 5 flights cancelled per day. Do you want a $55 fare increase each way?
I think the same should apply to every congressman that was a no-show on a roll call. 55,000 as a fair number for them also.
Will Bernie be financially responsible to the families of the people killed when an airline inevitably cuts corners to get an unsafe plane in the air and avoid his fine? Of course not. The socialists never have to bear responsibility for their stupid polices.
It’s for flights canceled due to insufficient staffing. How can a flight be unsafe if it never leaves because there is no crew to fly it? The airlines can’t make flight crews work more than a certain amount of time. This wouldn’t apply to weather cancelations, which I’m sure the airlines would just use as the reason even more liberally than they do now.
But sure, just read the headline and rant about socialists… the American way
At least it’s an idea… what idea does the right wing have? Just try to stonewall any suggestions from “libruls”?
Good grief, sorry but that is just silly. Not every attempt to regulate airlines means planes will fall from the sky
Can you even read?
The issue was about how insufficient staffing is leading to cancellations
How is having adequate staffing going to make things unsafe?
This clown will do ANYTHING with other peoples’ money…and folks keep voting for him and his ilk!
Are you saying governments can’t levy fines?
Bernie what??? Who is this clown?
You don’t know who “feel the Bern’ is from the last election? He is a US Senator and proposed “Medicare-Healthcare for all” which might be good and is what he tried to do in the state of Vermont.
This is idiotic on multiple levels. First, airlines were not “gifted” money during the pandemic. Politicians decided that airline service was critical to the economy and that if they failed, it would burden unemployment programs and undermine the economy. Yes, airlines lobbied for support, but so did their unions, you can decide which lobbying efforts were most impactful, but politicians on both sides were buying votes. Keep in mind that airlines that accepted funds also had to maintain minimum service – thus flying a bunch of empty airplanes, especially in small markets. Again – who’s interest is served by saying they “preserved service.” Would the country/industry/passengers be better off if airlines didn’t receive funding and nearly all of them filed for bankruptcy protection? Those that survived restructuring would certainly face less congestion – of course prices would be multiples higher than they are now.
One question to ask, why at a time that airlines are reducing capacity would they “knowingly” schedule flights that can’t be operated. How would that help restore profits? Conversely, the AA pilots union is actively trying to renegotiate contracts, so the question is how is this in their interest? Fly by the book, write-ups at the end of their trip, not taking extra hours all serve their negotiating interests.
Finally – Air Traffic Control is years behind in automation – your car’s guidance system is more modern than FAA ATC. Should the FAA and ATC be fined for delays and cancellations Mr. Sanders? The scary part is the Senator from Vermont doesn’t realized he’s being used for negotiating leverage.
Just for fun, the average aircraft size for the 8 largest U.S. carriers is 167 seats, at 85% full, that’s 142 passengers, which would result in a $7.8 million fine per canceled flight.
Hello Clown Bernie. I understand the frustrations of the airline passengers and know the difficulties that airline
management have to go thru. How much time have you worked in airline management? route planning?
hiring and training pilots and flight attendants? Understand the financial position of airlines in each airport?
OH YOU HAVEN’T???? YOU CAN’T COMPREHEND???? ASK LITTLE BO PEEP. YOU JUST PROVED YOUR MANAGERIAL (LACK) OF ABILITY!
GET A REAL JOB AND WORK LIKE THE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS!
BYE BERNIE THE CLOWN. KEVIN ABOVE —-GREAT POINTS!
Uncle Sanders, it’s not going to happen in America. I mean, I wouldn’t mind if it did. But it sounds too much
of a ‘socialist’ approach to doing business.
Market Socialism is the only way forward that won’t lead to collapse