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Law Stemming from Upstate Plane Crash Ignored By Some

Enraged by safety errors in a deadly 2009 plane crash from Newark, N.J., to Buffalo, N.Y., victims’ family members marched to Washington and demanded change. They got it in the form of a new law requiring airlines and travel websites to disclose who is flying each plane.

The flight that crashed en route to Buffalo, killing everyone onboard, was piloted by a small operator known as Colgan Air even though the plane said “Continental Connection” and travelers could book tickets directly through Continental.

Federal investigators found the distinctions can matter because of different levels of experience at the major carriers compared to regional airlines. For example, Colgan’s crew had far fewer hours in the cockpit than a flight team at Continental would require.

Experts theorized that might have made a difference as Flight 3407 made its icy approach to Buffalo Niagara International Airport, when the pilot overreacted to a stall.

But three weeks after the new law took effect, not everyone is following it.

For example: a search on still shows Newark-to-Buffalo flights on Continental. Not until a user clicks through does it reveal the smaller carrier operates the flight.

Compare that to Travelocity, which displays the regional results on an initial search, as required by law.

Kayak declined several requests for comment from NBC New York.

But Sen. Charles Schumer had something to say about Kayak.

“They’re not doing it, and we’re going to find out why,” said Schumer, who had promised families in the Buffalo disaster there wouldn’t be guesswork in the future.

Kayak could face a $25,000 fine for not complying with the legislation, which requires full disclosure of the operating airline in “the initial search.”

Schumer’s office said it would look into whether other travel websites are following the new disclosure law. In the meantime, many passengers shrugged off the online confusion, saying they’d book a flight if it got them where they were going for the best price.


One Response

  1. Anyone with a brain who travels even slightly knows that the “commuter” jets or turboprop flights are operated by feeder airlines. Either way, so what if you have to click on the flight info link for more info, people generally do that anyway!!

    Obviously Chuck U Schumer has nothing else to do.

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