(Update: After this article was published, I heard from the largest union representing flight attendants about their reaction to the biggest surprises in this law.)

There's giant news out of Washington today that will radically affect life for airline passengers, flight attendants, and other employees. And it has nothing to do with that "other" big Washington story--the one about the Supreme Court.

Instead, this is about the Federal Aviation Administration bill that President Trump signed into law a little before 3 p.m. Friday--just before the moment when everyone else in Washington was watching a key senator's speech about Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

To be clear, there's no suggestion that the White House intentionally picked a time when people weren't paying attention to sign the bill. This law had passed Congress with overwhelming support, and industry players and airline lobbyists have been watching it like hawks for a long time. 

But it is striking, given that Congress passed this bill at literally 2:52 in the morning on a Saturday two weeks ago, that it would also be signed at the White House in relative obscurity.

It seems very few people even noticed. I knew about it only because I'd emailed the White House asking for an update on the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 earlier in the day.

The story of this law has been dominated largely by what isn't in it: no restrictions on what airlines can charge for baggage or change fees. But it still changes a lot of things. Here's a quick summary of what's included.

You'll notice that some of these new laws are the direct result of some viral incidents that happened on planes in the last year or two. The new law:

Published on: Oct 6, 2018
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