Five Reasons for Rising Aggravation When Flying - NBC 6 South Florida
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Five Reasons for Rising Aggravation When Flying

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Videos of passengers frustrated with their airlines -- brawling and even getting arrested -- are going viral. Experts weigh in on the subject. (Published Thursday, July 27, 2017)

    You don’t have to go far to see video of the latest airport or airline drama. Viral videos are showing problems on airplanes and inside terminals.

    And the videos you’ve seen may be just be a small portion of what’s really going on.

    "Well for every video that comes out, we think there’s probably hundreds, if not thousands of ones that are somewhat similar that did not get on video,” said Paul Hudson, the head of FlyersRights.org.

    Hudson can list what he calls a "perfect storm" of problems leading to aggravation at airports.

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    Long Delays

    According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average delay at Fort Lauderdale airport was 74 minutes in May 2017, the most recent data available. The airport ranks near the bottom compared to other airports' on time departures and arrivals. Miami International’s ranking is slightly better. Still the average delay there in May 2017 was 69 minutes.

    Outdated Air Traffic Control Systems

    Carriers like American blame antiquated air traffic control systems. Airlines even suggested irate passengers contact Congress to encourage updates to the system.

    Shortage of Air Traffic Controllers

    The head of the union for air traffic controllers at MIA says South Florida and other parts of the country don’t have enough workers to adequately staff the towers. Billy Kisseadoo says it’s especially a problem at peak travel times.

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    “What we’ll have to do is curtail the amount of services that we give, close up positions, combine positions, put restrictions on that will make air traffic delays more likely,” said Kisseadoo.

    The Director of Miami International Airport says they have little to no control of the FAA’s equipment or hiring, but MIA is trying its best to help passengers get to their destinations on time.

    "Moving forward, one of the things we are doing as we speak to additional carriers, is incentivizing them to come at off peak hours,” said MIA director Emilio Gonzalez.

    Baggage and Extra Fees

    More travelers complain about baggage than any other aspect of flying, according to the US Department of Transportation. A more recent complaint has been having to pay nearly the same for a carry-on bag as you would a checked bag.

    Hudson says the extra fees are allowed because there is no restriction on what is included in a fare.

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    "So, you could advertise the airfare for a dollar and everything else could be extra," Hudson said. "Believe it or not there is no definition of what airfare means."