$90 million bill to prevent passengers from being bumped off flights

U.S. & World

There’s a new plan that will change how Americans fly.

The Senate passed a $90 billion bill requiring the FAA to set a minimum seat size for commercial planes and also addresses overbooked flights, how airlines bump passengers off planes. The bill also gives passengers more leg and seat room on flights.

“If you are on the plane the only reason you can be removed from the plane is for safety purposes,” said Maryland Democrat Sen. Chris Van Hollen.

Van Hollen added that amendment after Dr. David Dao was dragged from a United Express flight last year.

And as seats on planes continue to shrink, Congress says its had enough.

The FAA will now be required to set minimum seat sizes, both in width and distance between rows.

“The focus is on passenger safety, trying to make sure the seats are big enough and the spacing is adequate enough to allow people to exit their seats, get off the plane in the case of emergencies,” Van Hollen said.

Passengers at Regan National said they were not sure if seat size should be up to the government.

“Free market. If an airline is known for having smaller seats, then I’d probably fly a different airline,” a passenger said.

In addition, the bill bans in-flight cell phone voice calls and e-cigarettes. It also ensures pregnant passengers can board first.

And after a dog died in a United Airlines overhead bin, animals are now banned from the bins.

“This is not a perfect bill by any means, but is certainly a positive step forward in consumer protection,” Van Hollen said.

The bill is expected to pass in the house before being signed by the president.

A measure that would restrict airlines from collecting unreasonable fees, such as changing passenger itinerary, picking a seat or checking luggage is not included in the bill.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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