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EXPERT SOURCES

Getting in Touch with Airline Watchdogs

To find out more about different airlines, lodge a complaint, or educate yourself about passenger rights, consider these organizations:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Consumer and Community Affairs Office:
Specializes in problems with baggage handling, overbooking, and delayed flights. Also releases monthly statistics based on consumer complaints and airline reports. 202-366-2220

FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
Consumer Hotline: An FAA watchdog, the hotline is for complaints about problems with airport security, carry-on baggage, or the FAA itself. 800-322-7873
Safety Hotline: To report violations of federal airport and airplane regulation or unsafe situations. Often the first stop for insider whistle-blowers. 800-255-1111

AVIATION CONSUMER ACTION PROJECT
Founded in 1971 by Ralph Nader, ACAP researches consumer issues and publishes the brochure Facts and Advice for Airline Passengers. Will advise you about passenger rights and safety issues over the phone. 202-638-4000

INTERNATIONAL AIRLINE PASSENGERS ASSOCIATION
Like members of the American Automobile Association, IAPA's 150,000 members can buy travel accident insurance or participate in the lost luggage retrieval assistance program. Their bi-monthly travel-safety alert is a good resource for international travelers worried about airline safety and other travel problems. 214-404-9980

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF TRAVEL AGENTS
A travel trade organization, ASTA represents some 23,000 airlines, hotels, travel agents, rental car agencies, and other travel businesses around the world. Their consumer office can provide info about packing or preparing to travel abroad and also can informally mediate consumer disputes with ASTA members. 703 739-2782


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