@pcpontificates tweets about a proposed bill to make Members of Congress fly coach.
Members of Congress fly 2x+ a week. They should get free elite upgrades. Still, this bill is a stunt. cc:@garyleff
Let me first say that I think the bill is pure grandstanding. It’s a legislative fix in search of a problem.
When I read reports on the bill about Members of Congress having to sit in coach, I cringed — surely the authors understand that frequent flyers get upgrades?
And it turns out it isn’t as idiotic as it sounds on face, with Members of Congress being required to turn down elite upgrades and finding it harder to work inflight.
The bill applies standard federal travel rules for agencies which allow for premium cabin travel under specific circumstances.
Under the proposed bill (.pdf), 41 CFR §301-10.123 (“When may I use other than coach-class airline accommodations?”) applies.
Funds described in subsection (a) may be used for airline accommodations which are not coach-class accommodations for an individual described in subsection (a) if the use of the funds for such accommodations would be permitted under sections 301–10.121 through 301–10.125 of title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations if the individual were an employee of an agency which is subject to chapter 301 of such title.
Reasons that justify premium cabin travel include medical conditions, flight length, security considerations, as well as the possibility that premium cabin travel is less expensive than coach or the only thing available.
And frequent flyer upgrades are specifically permitted.
You may upgrade to other than coach-class accommodations at your personal expense, including through redemption of frequent flyer benefits.
So now you know — the bill with one of the most absurd names of this Congressional session, the “If Our Military Has to Fly Coach Then so Should Congress Act,” doesn’t actually require Members of Congress to fly coach.
It would just forbid Members of Congress to pay for the big front seat. Unless they really needed it.
Now we can turn to important political issues like:
- Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s Delta Diamond status
- Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s mileage award ticket that brought down his administration.
- Former Congressman Ron Paul’s past use of government fare tickets which are more upgradable domestically on several airlines.
- Delta’s elite status comps to all the top politicians in Georgia. (“You know you’re unimportant when you just get Delta Platinum.”)
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