Senator Charles Schumer from New York is trying to change what information customers receive while booking their tickets online.
Most regional carriers that are branded with a major airline’s name and logo are actually run by smaller, individually owned regional airlines. For example, Continental Express & American Eagle Airlines are both made up of two regional airlines and Delta Connection is made up of almost 10 regional airlines.
The Regional Carrier Disclosure Act of 2009 being proposed by Schumer would require online travel websites to clearly list which regional carrier would be operating the flight. Some websites already display this information, but require multiple clicks to find it. The idea behind the legislation is to allow potential passengers to make an informed decision on what airline they would actually fly on.
The action by the senator comes in the wake of the February 12th crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 which took all 50 lives on board. Although that tragic accident has brought up many legitimate questions about the safety of some regional carriers, I wonder if this legislation would make any difference. Here are a few things I see wrong with this proposal (yes I love lists):
#1. In most regions, there aren’t many other options. Airlines run the smaller aircraft on certain flights, since that is the only way to keep it profitable. In some cases a person might be able to find a similar flight with a larger aircraft, but most of the time a traveler would need to find alternative transportation or just not go.
#2. This seems like it will do nothing but raise people’s fear of flying. It has been shown over and over again that flying, even in small aircraft, is very safe transportation. Singling out regional carriers could really hurt them for no reason.
#3. Does the average flier know what flying on “Shuttle America” vs “Delta Connection” means? Do people know what “Delta Connection” vs “Delta Airlines” mean? I don’t think it quite defines what kind of aircraft a person would be flying on for most people.
I am all about improving the airline industry and especially safety regulation that will actually save lives. This seems more like feel-good legislation and I am not really sure how it would go about saving lives or making regional carriers any safer. But maybe I missed something?Image: brandonfs88