Exploring the Recently Passed Aviation Bill

By Brock Benjamin
Founding Attorney

What will the new aviation laws mean for commercial plane passengers?

President Trump recently signed into law an important aviation bill that could have implications for commercial airline passengers, pilots, and others in the airplane industry. Despite its significance, the bill received little more than fleeting interest by the media because it was signed into law during the controversy ridden selection of the new Supreme Court judge. The Federal Aviation Administration bill received much support in Congress is expected to bring about some major changes in the realm of commercial aviation. Our El Paso aviation law attorney at the Benjamin Law Firm explores the basics of the new aviation bill and what it could mean for you below.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018

Key provisions within the new aviation bill are as follows:

  • The law places no restrictions on how much airlines can charge for baggage or flight change fees;
  • It prohibits airlines from bumping any passenger that has already boarded the plane;
  • The law bans the use of e-cigarettes on planes;
  • It sets a minimum standard for how much rest flight attendants must get between shifts;
  • It increases the penalties for passengers interfering with the crew;
  • Makes it illegal for airlines or passengers to stow animals in overhead bins;
  • Mandates that the airline refund passengers for any services they paid for but did not receive;
  • Creates a new task force with the goal of examining sexual harassment among airline employees;
  • Requires the FAA set up an aviation consumer advocate so that passengers can report their complaints;
  • Requires the FAA set minimum standards regarding seat width and pitch;
  • Requires the FAA to keep track of how many wheelchairs and other medical devices are damaged on flights;
  • Allows the government the right to shoot down private drones if necessary for safety.

Those intimately involved in the airline industry will want to closely review the language of this complex bill so as to fully understand how it may impact them. Private pilots are unlikely to be impacted by the bill, but should watch closely in the coming years as the potential for additional legislation aimed at smaller, private planes certainly exists.

About the Author
Brock Benjamin is board-certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  His practice is primarily state and federal criminal law and appeals.Brock 

Posted in: Aviation Law