Home > 107th Congressional Bills > S. 31 (is) To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to phase out the estate and gift taxes over a 10-year period. [Introduced in Senate] ...

S. 31 (is) To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to phase out the estate and gift taxes over a 10-year period. [Introduced in Senate] ...


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                                                        Calendar No. 35
107th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                 S. 319

                          [Report No. 107-13]

To amend title 49, United States Code, to ensure that air carriers meet 
  their obligations under the Airline Customer Service Agreement, and 
provide improved passenger service in order to meet public convenience 
                             and necessity.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           February 13, 2001

 Mr. McCain (for himself, Mr. Hollings, Mrs. Hutchison, Mr. Feingold, 
Mr. Kerry, Ms. Snowe, Mr. Reid, and Mr. Wyden) introduced the following 
 bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, 
                      Science, and Transportation

                             April 26, 2001

               Reported by Mr. McCain, with an amendment
 [Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in 
                                italic]

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To amend title 49, United States Code, to ensure that air carriers meet 
  their obligations under the Airline Customer Service Agreement, and 
provide improved passenger service in order to meet public convenience 
                             and necessity.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

<DELETED>SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.</DELETED>

<DELETED>    This Act may be cited as the ``Airline Customer Service 
Improvement Act''.</DELETED>

<DELETED>SEC. 2. FINDINGS.</DELETED>

<DELETED>    The Congress finds the following:</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) The Inspector General of the Department of 
        Transportation has found that the airlines' voluntary 
        commitment to better service, set forth in the Airline Customer 
        Service Commitment, has resulted in positive changes in how air 
        travelers are treated.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) While the Inspector General's Final report 
        noted that the voluntary effort has produced benefits faster 
        than a legislative or regulatory mandate, which could have 
        taken years to implement, the Inspector General has recommended 
        additional changes that require legislation and 
        regulations.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (3) The Airline Customer Service Commitment has 
        prompted the airlines to address consumer concerns in many 
        areas, ranging from providing information more accurately on 
        delays to explaining that lower fares may be available through 
        the Internet.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (4) The airlines were cooperative with, and 
        responsive to, many of the suggestions the Inspector General 
        made in the interim report last year.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (5) The Inspector General has determined that, 
        while there has been significant progress in improving airline 
        customer service, certain areas covered by the Airline Customer 
        Service Commitment are in need of significant clarification and 
        improvement and, where appropriate, enforcement 
        action.</DELETED>

<DELETED>SEC. 3. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO DEVOTE GREATER 
              RESOURCES TO AIRLINE PASSENGER CONSUMER 
              PROTECTION.</DELETED>

<DELETED>    (a) In General.--The Secretary of Transportation shall 
increase the resources of the Department of Transportation allocated to 
providing--</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) airline passenger consumer protection and 
        related services; and</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) oversight and enforcement of laws and 
        regulations within the jurisdiction of the Department that 
        provide protection for air travelers.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (b) Report.--Within 60 days after the date of enactment of 
this Act, the Secretary shall report to the Senate Committee on 
Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure measures taken by the Secretary to 
carry out subsection (a), together with a request for additional funds 
or measures, if necessary, to carry out that subsection 
fully.</DELETED>

<DELETED>SEC. 4. AIRLINE CUSTOMER SERVICE COMMITMENT.</DELETED>

<DELETED>    (a) In General.--Chapter 417 of title 49, United States 
Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:</DELETED>

      <DELETED>``SUBCHAPTER IV. AIRLINE CUSTOMER SERVICE</DELETED>

<DELETED>``Sec.  41781. Airline customer service requirements</DELETED>
<DELETED>    ``(a) In General.--Within 60 days after the date of 
enactment of the Airline Customer Service Improvement Act, each large 
air carrier shall incorporate the provisions of the Airline Customer 
Service Commitment executed by the Air Transport Association and 14 of 
its member airlines on June 17, 1999, in its contract of 
carriage.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    ``(b) Additional Obligations.--Within 60 days after the 
date of enactment of the Airline Customer Service Improvement Act, each 
large air carrier shall institute the following practices:</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    ``(1) Include fares available at the air carrier's 
        ticket offices and airport ticket service counters when quoting 
        the lowest fare available to passengers.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    ``(2) Notify customers that lower fares may be 
        available through other distribution systems, including 
        Internet websites.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    ``(3) Provide, no later than the 5th day of each 
        month, the air carrier's on-time performance rate for each 
        scheduled flight for the most recently-ended month for which 
        data is available through its Internet website.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    ``(4) Disclose, without being requested, the on-
        time performance and cancellation rate for a chronically-
        delayed or canceled flight whenever a customer makes a 
        reservation or purchases a ticket on such a flight.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    ``(5) Establish a plan with respect to passengers 
        who must unexpectedly remain overnight during a trip due to 
        flight delays, cancellations, or diversions.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    ``(6) Tell all passengers on a flight what the air 
        carrier is required to pay passengers involuntarily denied 
        boarding before making offers to passengers to induce them 
        voluntarily to relinquish seats.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    ``(c) Compliance Assurance.--</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    ``(1) Air carrier functions.--Each large air 
        carrier also shall--</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    ``(A) establish a customer service quality 
                assurance and performance measurement system within 90 
                days after the date of enactment of the Airline 
                Customer Service Improvement Act;</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    ``(B) establish an internal audit process 
                to measure compliance with the commitments and its 
                customer service plan within 90 days after the date of 
                enactment of the Airline Customer Service Improvement 
                Act; and</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    ``(C) cooperate fully with any Department 
                of Transportation audit of its customer service quality 
                assurance system or review of its internal 
                audit.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    ``(2) DOT functions.--The Secretary of 
        Transportation shall--</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    ``(A) monitor compliance by large air 
                carriers with the requirements of this section and take 
                such action under subpart IV of this title as may be 
                necessary to enforce compliance with this section under 
                subpart IV of this title;</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    ``(B) monitor air carrier customer service 
                quality assurance and performance measurement systems 
                to ensure that air carriers are meeting fully their 
                airline passenger service commitments; and</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    ``(C) review the internal audits conducted 
                by air carriers of their air carrier customer service 
                quality assurance and performance measurement 
                systems.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    ``(d) Definitions.--In this section--</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    ``(1) Large air carrier.--The term `large air 
        carrier' means an air carrier holding a certificate issued 
        under section 41102 that--</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    ``(A) operates aircraft designed to have a 
                maximum passenger capacity of more than 60 seats or a 
                maximum payload capacity of more than 18,000 pounds; 
                or</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    ``(B) conducts operations where one or 
                both terminals of a flight stage are outside the 50 
                states of the United States, the District of Columbia, 
                the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin 
                Islands.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    ``(2) Chronically delayed or canceled.--A flight 
        shall be considered to be chronically-delayed or canceled if at 
        least 40 percent of the flight's departures are delayed for at 
        least 15 minutes or at least 40 percent of the flights are 
        canceled.''.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (b) Enforcement.--Section 46301(a)(7) of title 49, United 
States Code, is amended by striking ``40112 or 41727'' and inserting 
``40112, 41727, or 41781''.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (c) Conforming Amendment.--The chapter analysis for 
chapter 417 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at 
the end the following:</DELETED>

           <DELETED>``SUBCHAPTER IV. AIRLINE CUSTOMER SERVICE

<DELETED>``41781. Airline customer service requirements''.

<DELETED>SEC. 5. OTHER SERVICE-ENHANCING IMPROVEMENTS.</DELETED>

<DELETED>    (a) In General.--Within 90 days after the date of 
enactment of this Act, each large air carrier (as defined in section 
41781(d)(1)) shall--</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) establish realistic targets for reducing 
        chronically-delayed and canceled flights;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) establish a system passengers may use before 
        departing for the airport to determine whether there is a 
        lengthy flight delay or whether a flight has been 
        canceled;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (3) develop and implement a system for tracking 
        and documenting the amount of time between the receipt of a 
        passenger's claim for missing baggage and the delivery of the 
        baggage to the passenger, including the time taken by a courier 
        or other delivery service to deliver found baggage to the 
        passenger;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (4) monitor and report its efforts to improve 
        services provided to passengers with disabilities and special 
        needs, including services provided at airports such as check-
        in, passenger security screening (particularly for passengers 
        who use wheelchairs), boarding, and disembarkation;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (5) clarify terminology used to advise passengers 
        of unscheduled delays or interruptions in service, such as 
        ``extended period of time'' and ``emergency'', in order better 
to inform passengers about what they can expect during on-board 
delays;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (6) ensure that comprehensive passenger service 
        contingency plans are properly maintained and that the plans, 
        and any changes to those plans, are coordinated with local 
        airport authorities and the Federal Aviation 
        Administration;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (7) ensure that master airport flight information 
        display monitors contain accurate, up-to-date flight 
        information and that the information is consistent with that 
        shown on the carrier's flight information display 
        monitors;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (8) establish a toll-free telephone number that a 
        passenger may use to check on the status of checked baggage 
        that was not delivered on arrival at the passenger's 
        destination;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (9) if it maintains a domestic code-share 
        arrangement with another air carrier, conclude an agreement 
        under which it will conduct an annual audit of that air 
        carrier's compliance with the other air carrier's airline 
        customer service commitment; and</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (10) if it has a frequent flyer program, make 
        available to the public a comprehensive report of frequent 
        flyer redemption information in their customer literature and 
        annual reports, including information on the percentage of 
        successful redemption of frequent flyer awards and the number 
        of seats available for such awards in the air carrier's top 100 
        origin and destination markets.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (b) Initial Response Reports.--</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) Air carriers.--Within 90 days after the date 
        of enactment of this Act, each large air carrier shall report 
        to the Secretary of Transportation on its implementation of the 
        obligations imposed on it by this Act.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) Secretary.--Within 270 days after the date of 
        enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall 
        report to the Congress on the implementation by large air 
        carriers of the obligations imposed on them by this Act, 
        together with such additional findings and recommendations for 
        additional legislative or regulatory action as the Secretary 
        deems appropriate.</DELETED>

<DELETED>SEC. 6. IMPROVED DOT STATISTICS.</DELETED>

<DELETED>    (a) Missing Baggage.--In calculating and reporting the 
rate of mishandled baggage for air carriers, the Department of 
Transportation shall not take into account passengers who do not check 
any baggage.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (b) Chronically Delayed or Canceled Flights.--The Office 
of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings of the Department of 
Transportation in coordination with the Bureau of Transportation 
Statistics of the Department of Transportation, shall include a table 
in the Air Travel Consumer Report that shows flights chronically 
delayed by 15 minutes or more and flights canceled 40 percent or more 
for 3 consecutive months or more.</DELETED>

<DELETED>SEC. 7. DOT REGULATIONS ON BUMPING.</DELETED>

<DELETED>    (a) Uniform Check-in Deadline.--The Secretary of 
Transportation shall initiate a rulemaking within 30 days after the 
date of enactment of this Act to amend the Department of 
Transportation's Regulations to establish a uniform check-in deadline 
and to require air carriers to disclose, both in their contracts of 
carriage and on ticket jackets, their policies on how those deadlines 
apply to passengers making connections.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (b) Bumped Passenger Compensation.--The Secretary of 
Transportation shall initiate a rulemaking within 30 days after the 
date of enactment of this Act to amend the Department of 
Transportation's Regulation (14 C.F.R. 250.5) governing the amount of 
denied boarding compensation for passengers denied boarding 
involuntarily to increase the maximum amount thereof.</DELETED>
<DELETED>    (c) Clarify Certain Terms.--The Secretary of 
Transportation shall clarify the terms ``any undue or unreasonable 

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