Today, FlyersRights.org, the nation’s largest non-profit airline consumer advocacy group, applauded the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) efforts to improve airport security in the wake of this week’s incident aboard a Northwest flight bound for Detroit. However, the group warned that a large number of its members have expressed concerns that the new TSA procedures, including the ‘one-hour rule’, may place an undue burden on passengers.
“Obviously, safety during air travel must be the number one priority for everyone. However, we caution the TSA to fully consider the ramifications of these new rules, and take all steps necessary to ensure they are implemented with common sense and respect for the dignity of passengers. While it may seem obvious that airlines would implement these rules with a liberal dose of common sense, history has proven otherwise,” said Kate Hanni, spokesperson for FlyersRight.org.
Our membership is concerned that the new procedures could so infringe on basic passenger needs that some travelers will find it necessary to avoid air travel altogether. In particular, we are concerned that the newly implemented “one hour rule”, which severely restricts passengers’ activities in the last hour of a flight, may pose health and safety risks for many people. Activities potentially banned during the last hour of a flight include: using the restroom, giving formula to a baby, taking vital medications, and stretching one’s legs to avoid blood clots. We caution the TSA to restrict passengers’ in-flight activities sparingly, and only when such restrictions have a direct and measurable correlation to improved safety.
Continued Hanni, “We can restrict passenger behavior ad infinitum in the hopes of preventing some future catastrophe, but, at some point, we will lose our identities as Americans. When it gets to the point when we can no longer feed a young child or access our handbag, we have to ask ourselves who is really winning this battle.”