Senate Passes Bill to Boost Travel Security
The Senate approved legislation that would boost domestic travel security, among other security-related items.
The 95-3 vote sends the measure to the House of Representatives, Reuters reported.
The bipartisan Senate measure includes doubling the number of transportation security teams with bomb-sniffing dogs at domestic airports, as well as stronger vetting of airport employees and increased security at check-in and baggage claim areas, reported Reuters.
According to USA Today, the bill includes provisions such as:
- Automatic refunds for fees or services that aren’t received, such as seat assignments, early boarding and carry-bags.
- Refunds of baggage fees when luggage is lost or delayed six hours after arrival of a domestic flight and 12 hours after an international arrival. Airlines charged $2.8 billion in bag fees last year, according to the Transportation Department.
- Airline notification to families when tickets are booked if seats aren’t adjacent.
- A ban on cell-phone calls aboard planes in flight. A similar provision is in the House bill.
- A review of how airlines provide information about delays or cancellations blamed on weather.
Criminalizedrone flights that interfere with occupied aircraft, with penalties up to life in prison for causing serious injury or death, under an amendment from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.
Require airlines to install wire-mesh gates between the cockpit and seating area of new airliners, to provide a second barrier when pilots open the flight-deck door, under an amendment from Sens. Robert Casey, D-Pa., and
Patrick Toomey, R-Pa. A similar provision is in the House bill.
Double the number of
Transportation Security Administrationteams from 30 to 60 that patrol airports away from checkpoints, such as around baggage claim or check-in desks.