Soaring Number of Airline Complaints Lead AGs to Press Congress for Enforcement Authority

  • Congress is currently considering the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration and could include changes that would allow state AGs to enforce federal aviation consumer protection laws against airlines.
  • Airlines have been exempt from state consumer protection laws since 1978, when Congress passed the Airline Deregulation Act and ensured that the job of establishing, and ensuring compliance with, consumer protection requirements for airline passengers fell exclusively to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In the wake of a sharp increase in consumer complaints over ticket refunds and canceled flights, AGs and consumer advocates have pushed for Congress to allow states to enforce aviation consumer protection regulations.
  • Although neither the House nor the Senate versions of the bill contain the changes that the AGs are asking for, consumer groups have expressed hopes that the Senate may add state enforcement measures as the bill is amended.