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Airline Passengers’ Rights Flying High with New Senate Bill

Profile Photo By: H L
July 15, 2009

Airline Passengers’ Rights Flying High with New Senate Bill

NAPA, Calif., July 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee unveiled its version of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009 which includes important Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights provisions. Among those provisions:

* Passengers will have the right to return to the terminal after three-hours on the tarmac if the pilot determines this can be done safely.

* While on the tarmac, airlines will be required to provide food, potable water, working restrooms, and reasonable cabin temperature and ventilation.

“This is a major victory for airline passengers,” said Kate Hanni, whose organization has been working for over two years for airline passengers’ bill of rights with a three hour minimum.

“But the war isn’t won yet.” Airline lobbyists are already on the Hill in force fighting against these provisions.

If and when these rights are eventually passed by the full Senate, House leaders will still have their say in conference. Despite intense focus over the last two years to persuade key House leaders of the need to impose time limits, the House chose to leave that option to the airlines.

“This would have led to mass consumer confusion – one airline could have a limit of 5 hours, and another airline could have set a limit of 10 hours,” says Ms. Hanni.

“Our coalition and airline passengers everywhere wish to thank the members and leadership of the Senate Commerce Committee for this important legislation,” said Ms. Hanni.

Chief proponents of the three-hour limit were Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Chairman Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced the bill on behalf of Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), and the leadership of the Aviation Operations, Safety and Security Subcommittee, Chairman Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND) and Ranking Member Jim DeMint (R-SC).

Other airline consumer-friendly provisions were championed by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Senator John Thune (R-SD). “It looks to our coalition as though this was a bipartisan, group effort. We’re so pleased that this committee is able to work together and focus on the interests of the flying public,” said Ms. Hanni.

FlyersRights.org has over 25,000 members and is the largest non-profit airline passengers’ rights coalition. For more information, contact Kate Hanni directly at 707-337-0328 or Kate@flyersrights.org.

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