Copyright 2015, 2016 Solutions by Design
Federal Aviation Administration
The FAA fails to protect the public in several significant ways.
There is a rule that anyone seated in an exit row must be able and willing to open the exit door in an emergency. But the FAA fails to require (1) that anyone be seated in the exit row(s) or (2) if no one is seated in an exit row that the nearest passengers accept the duties of exit row passengers.
The FAA fails to protect the traveling public from arbitrary or capricious behavior of airline personnel, particularly the pilot in command.
Airlines are common carriers. And, under the Common Law of England which is the basic law of 49 of the 50 states (Louisiana excepted), a common carrier was duty bound to transport all comers save those committing a breach of the peace. Federal law grants the Master a bit of additional discretion not to carry a passenger that s/he reasonably believes is a threat to the vessel but this discretion while it seems broad is much more limited in the law than in actual practice.
A Master (pilot) may not lawfully refuse to carry a passenger because of the passenger's skin color, religion, or a variety of other protected categories, nor may a passenger lawfully be denied carriage because the pilot doesn't like the color of the passenger's clothes or because the passenger is known or believed to be one who might undertake criminal prosecution if the crew violates the law.
The problem is that it is very expensive for a passenger to enforce his of her rights. One example may suffice. United States Code, Title 47, Section 333, prohibits interference with the use of any service licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (e.g., cell phones). The FAA has made rules (which may violate 47 USC 333) that allow a pilot in command or airline to prohibit use of electronic equipment if they believe that the aircraft is not airworthy with it operating. But they refuse to make the claim that the equipment might not be airworthy if licensed electronic is used but nonetheless prohibit its operation and thrown anyone off the plane who so much as questions the rule.