On Wednesday, February 16 faculty and students welcomed Bill McGee, award winning investigative journalist, columnist, editor, book author and novelist to campus. McGee has spoken multiple times at Vaughn over the last few years and grew up just a couple blocks away from where Vaughn is located. 

His talk on Wednesday evening touched on passenger rights and why it seems passengers have become so impatient over the last few years. The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported 89,518 consumer complaints in 2020, whereas the number was 1,574 for 2019. McGee notes there are numerous reasons why consumer complaints are becoming increasingly frequent in the present day. Some reasons stem from seats getting smaller, an increase in flight cancellations, infants and young children not being able to sit next to their parents during flight and masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. McGee recently spoke to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg about these issues and suggestions on how to mitigate these problems.  

McGee then discussed what rights an individual has as a passenger. McGee made it clear that airlines should never accept rude and unacceptable behavior from passengers regardless of the situation. However, it is important for airline passengers to know what rights they have while flying. McGee pointed out that Canada and the European Union provide blueprints on its respective websites detailing what rights a passenger has. McGee also shared several examples of passenger’s bill of rights proposals being struck down in the US. He believes unruly passengers should be banned from all airlines moving forward, not just the airline the disruptive passenger might have been removed from. Citing this could be one solution to decreasing the number of disruptive passengers.  

At the end of his presentation, McGee answered questions about his work experience and opinions on various topics. Some questions asked were solutions to fixing the seat space problem on airplanes, airline contracts and the confusion surrounding them and his personal experience regarding confrontations and passenger complaints.