Senate Committee Boosts Passenger Rights Provision

Airlines would have to let passengers off planes that are delayed for three hours after pushing back from the gate, according to a provision in the Federal Aviation Administration funding bill passed today by the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Bloomberg reports.

Pilots would be permitted to add 30 minutes at their discretion and exceptions could be made for safety concerns.

The airline industry is still opposed, of course. “There’s virtually nothing good in the three-hour rule,” David Castelveter, spokesman for the Air Transport Association in Washington, said in an interview.

I beg to differ. What’s good about the rule is that it respects the basic human rights of airline passengers. If that’s inconvenient for the airlines, tough. Work it out.

This fight is not over. The bill now goes to the full Senate, and then there may be a conflict with the House over several provisions, including tougher regulation of airline alliances, Aviation Week reports. That provision is backed by Rep. James Oberstar, the powerful chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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