Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I found the following article at this address:

New York passes 'passenger bill of rights,' first of its kind in US Tuesday August 7, 2007

The New York legislature passed and Gov. Eliot Spitzer signed into law last week a "passenger bill of rights" outlining requirements for airlines during extended ground delays, making the state that is home to busy New York JFK and LaGuardia the first in the US to act on passenger complaints of poor customer service.

Largely in response to the much-publicized incident in which JetBlue Airways passengers were forced to stay on parked aircraft at JFK for up to 10 hr. during an ice storm (ATWOnline, Feb. 21), the new law claims to cover flights at New York airports and mandates fines of as much as $1,000 per passenger for carriers that fail to comply, although airlines question whether it is enforceable under federal law.

The law requires carriers to provide food, water, clean restrooms and fresh air to passengers stranded on aircraft for more than 3 hr. It also requires airlines to provide passengers with a phone number to register service complaints and establishes an "office of airline consumer advocate" within the New York state government.

"This law establishes much-needed consumer protections that will help guarantee greater passenger safety and comfort when severe delays impact their travels from New York airports," Spitzer said. New York State Sen. Charles Fuschillo, the bill's primary sponsor, added: "This first-in-the-nation law will ensure that stranded passengers are. . .not held hostage on delayed flights without basic amenities."

An ATA spokesperson said the organization is "disappointed" by the new law and believes it is "preempted" by federal statutes, adding, "We will review our options, including possible legal challenge."

The Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights, which is lobbying the US Congress to include passenger rights provisions in FAA reauthorization legislation, praised "New York's tough new airline passenger rights law" and called on Congress "to finish the job for all travelers nationwide." The group wants Congress to mandate that airlines allow passengers to leave aircraft after a ground delay of more than 3 hr., something the New York bill does not do and that carriers have opposed strenuously.

"Legislating something with fixed time limits is just unpractical in terms of day-to-day operations," Delta Air Lines COO James Whitehurst told reporters last week in Washington.
by Aaron Karp

Yes, passenger bill of rights. What did you think you were signing up for when you purchased your $50 discount airline (ahem... JetBlu... ahem) ticket? Because it sure wasn't for the award winning service or one who's known as the on time airline. Follow me for a minute - airplanes are like the new iPhone and the FAA/air traffic control basically has two cans and a string. For those of you non-engineers, this is not good and the focus needs to be taken away from airlines (USA Today, why do you hate us so???) and on to the real bad guys who do control the skies - the Federal Aviation Administration. If you passengers are so pissed off, then write your congressman and two senators a letter. They have the true power of the purse, so stop taking it out on me. And stop moving about the cabin while we are on an active taxi way. Thank you.

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