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KCI passengers on board with Congress bill that would improve flying experience, offer consumer protections

US House to weigh bill this week
kci passenger may 11 2024.png
Posted at 5:17 PM, May 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-11 18:17:56-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Passengers at Kansas City International Airport hardly realize what happens behind the scenes to make them feel comfortable catching a flight.

“I definitely want to keep feeling comfortable,” said John Ford, a KCI passenger.

The United States has until May 17 to fund the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees most aspects of flying.

This week, the US Senate passed its version of the FAA Reauthorization Act. The US House will take up the bill next week.

Kansas Rep. Sharice Davids (D) predicts the House will pass the legislation.

“We have made a lot of technology advancements in the last couple of years and we want to make sure the FAA has the resources to continue to upgrade those systems,” Davids said at an event in Overland Park, Kansas, Saturday.

The act funds more air traffic control positions and it requires airlines to reimburse passengers after lengthy delays among many other elements.

The bill has bipartisan support.

“This bill, with language that I inserted, will now protect consumers,” Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, said. “If they cancel your flight, you're going to get an automatic refund. And if you want to exchange that for a voucher or whatever, great; that's up to you. But they should pay you. They shouldn't stiff you, and that's what they have been doing."

Frequent traveler Michelle Harbin has dealt with delays and likes the idea of improving consumer protections and overall safety with the bill.

“I have family and I want to get where I’m going safely," Harbin said. "That’s with air traffic control. Yes, safety is number one."

Harry Lawrence works at Olathe, Kansas-based Terracon, which works with airports on a variety of projects.

He believes the FAA Reauthorization Act will open the door to new contracts and other support for businesses like his.

“That helps us and our business, helps the passengers, and helps the airports and the communities,” he said. “All that reauthorization money goes to good use.”