Vague Bill Won’t Ensure Passenger Rights

Last week the House of Representatives passed an aviation bill that would require airlines and airports to have a plan to provide stranded passengers with food, water and other basic needs and to let them off the aircraft after "excessive delays."

If  the Senate should pass similar legislation and the president should back off his threat to veto it, this bill will become law. And it won’t do nearly enough for stranded passengers.

Why are the airlines, which have failed time and again to live up to their own voluntary guidelines, being allowed to write their own plans? If they were capable of regulating themselves on this issue, they’d already be doing it.

And what’s an excessive delay? My bet is the airlines will define it a little bit differently than most of us passengers would. How about three hours and we can get off? And if the airline or the airport thinks that will play hell with their procedures, how about they change the damned procedures?

I urge you to read the language on passenger rights (although Congress doesn’t even bother calling it that) in this bill. And if you decide it’s not good enough, at least sign the petition.


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