Ahead of the winter storm in which Southwest canceled more than 16,000 flights, Tina Romeo and Chris St. John check their luggage at Bradley International Airport. Ryan Caron King | Connecticut Public

After a holiday season involving thousands of canceled flights, missed holidays and additional fees, Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., reintroduced airline passenger protection legislation this week.

The Department of Transportation reports that through October 2022, major airlines canceled over 144,000 flights and delayed more than 1.1 million flights — totaling 76 million minutes of delay.

The Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights and FAIR Fees Act would put in place consumer protection for fliers including setting standards for passenger compensation and recourse in the event of airline-caused flight delays and cancellations.

Blumenthal says this legislation is necessary and would like the support of his Republican colleagues.

“It has never been more uncomfortable and unpredictable, or more stressful, to travel by air,” says Blumenthal. “And that’s why the airlines need to be given some incentives to do the right thing and consumers need protection.”

Blumenthal says the passenger bill of rights is not only supported by consumers but by airline employees as well. He says they are as much victims of the airline’s bad management as the passengers. He adds, “What Southwest did was airline malpractice that inflicted harm on its own employees as well as consumers.”

Both senators hope to see these two bills pass legislation by the end of this year.

This story was first published Jan. 31, 2023 by Connecticut Public.