WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced that its newly reestablished Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC) will hold its first meeting in Washington, DC on April 4, 2019. The ACPAC meeting was originally scheduled for January 16, 2019, but was cancelled due to the lapse in funding.
The ACPAC is charged with evaluating current aviation consumer protection programs and providing recommendations to the Secretary for improving them, as well as recommending any additional consumer protections that may be needed. The National In-Flight Sexual Misconduct Task Force (Task Force) is an ACPAC subcommittee. The first ACPAC meeting will focus on the operation of the Task Force and the duties of its members, transparency of airline ancillary service fees, and involuntary changes to travel itineraries.
Members of the public may provide their views on the matters to be considered by the ACPAC by submitting written comments to the docket (DOT-OST-2018-0190) at https://www.regulations.gov. Members of the public who wish to attend the ACPAC must contact DOT as set forth in the Department’s Federal Register notice announcing the meeting. The meeting will be webcast live on DOT’s website and archived on the website for later viewing.
The Department is also announcing today its selection of Blane Workie, Assistant General Counsel for the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, to serve as the Aviation Consumer Advocate, a position created by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.
As the Aviation Consumer Advocate, Ms. Workie will assist consumers in resolving airline service complaints filed with the Department, review the Department’s resolution of airline service complaints, identify and recommend actions the Department can take to improve the enforcement of aviation consumer protection rules and resolution of airline service complaints, identify and recommend regulations and policies that can be amended to resolve more effectively airline service complaints, and submit an annual report to Congress. To help her fulfill the responsibilities of the Aviation Consumer Advocate, Ms. Workie has established two new positions – Director of Consumer Advocacy and Director of Civil Rights Advocacy.
The selection of an Aviation Consumer Advocate and reestablishment of the ACPAC is a reflection of the Department’s commitment to protecting the rights of air travelers.