Local organization fighting for rights of airline passengers

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SARASOTA - A group that fights for the rights of airline passengers is urging lawmakers to put a stop to the budget cuts that force air traffic controllers to take furlough days.

It could mean delays for you and more hassles when traveling by air.

The president of flyersrights.org, Paul Hudson, lives right here in Sarasota. The group is the largest organization in the country advocating for the rights and interests of airline passengers.

Now, the group is fighting for changes that they say could create a crisis not only for passengers, but also the state as a whole.

As of Monday, air traffic controllers across the country had their hours cut back by 10 percent, meaning every 10 days an air traffic controller must take one furlough day off.

Hudson says while this may only cause slight problems here in Sarasota at SRQ, in New York City and Chicago a 10 percent cut creates the same problems as a moderate storm would.

Hudson says should a storm or any other type of congestion happen now, flights would be severely delayed or cancelled. “It will impact Florida because people will either not be able to come here, or their flights will get delayed or cancelled. One out of twenty right now is cancelled, and because the flights are basically full they won't be able to get on the next plane. This will have a domino effect on Florida, which really depends on free air travel coming down here.”

Flyersrights.org has asked that congress stops the cuts for at least the choke point airports, such as New York City and Chicago, which impact over three quarters of the air traffic in the U.S.

Hudson says lawmakers appear to moving in that direction.