Hooray For Passengers’ Rights

I think Jet Blue is doing the right thing, but I don’t think it’s enough.  We still need a passengers’ bill of rights that applies across the industry. And it needs to be a law.

I’ve got nothing against the airline industry. I like airlines. They take me places, and that makes me happy. I just don’t think any airline has a right to hold me captive.

I like Sen. Barbara Boxer’s proposal. It would require airlines to provide passengers with food, water and working restrooms during flight delays on the runway. And it would require the airline to let passengers off the grounded plane after three hours.

How is that not fair? I’m sure not hearing any good arguments against this. The industry’s line seems to be we’re sorry and we won’t do it again. But voluntary guidelines have not eliminated this problem.

I understand that airlines in this country suffered massive financial setbacks after the 2001 terror attacks, and I am all kinds of sympathetic to them and especially to their employees, whose livelihoods have been reduced, threatened and extinguished. But I don’t see how leaving passengers on a grounded plane for 10 hours saves money.

Sure, some airlines have performed a lot better than others on informing passengers about delays, providing basic necessities on the tarmac and returning canceled flights to the gate. Those airline have nothing to worry about. The rest will have to get in shape.

If you agree, you should probably sign the petition.


2 thoughts on “Hooray For Passengers’ Rights

  1. bryan

    “I’m sure not hearing any good arguments against [Sen. Boxer’s proposal].”
    You won’t, either. The bottom line is $$$$. Whenever a plane hooks up to the terminal, it costs the airline money. If a flight is stuck on the tarmac, it is cheaper for the airline to leave it there than to go back and let the passengers deplane.
    Other issues include the law that prevents filght crews from working too many hours in a row. If the time it takes to terminal and later depart is too long, then the crew will have to be replaced, costing…yes, more money.
    There might not be room at a terminal to let the plane back in; terminals are scheduled and sometimes they are full.
    I’m not saying this is an acceptable solution. Whenever I fly, I (used to) pack a lot of water and snacks — enough for an anticipated 8 hours. Now that the government is irrationally limiting us to small amounts of water, this is harder to do.

  2. Kate

    Yeah I can see why airlines are trying to cut back on costs- but I think that ultimately this sort of mistreatment of passengers will cost them more than they imagined. Restraining customers on a plane for more than three hours regardless of how comfortable or uncomfortable it is, is offensive to the American concept of freedom. That sort of behavior seems criminal to me. Not to mention, would the pilot still be in the condition to fly 11 hours after the scheduled departure? That just seems like a disaster waiting to happen.
    I think there’s a point at which cutting corners to save a struggling business starts to do more harm than good. It seems to me like some airlines (like so many other companies) are eating themselves through a mixture of greed and desperation.


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