Airline Passengers Demand Rights


Here’s a story to make you even happier that you fly general aviation. A group of passengers was recently stranded for more than eight hours aboard an American Airlines jet that was diverted to Austin, Texas, due to weather. They had no food, the toilets clogged and overflowed and the stale air reeked. Now some of those passengers are joining a push to get Congress to pass a comprehensive Passengers Bill of Rights. “We feel that enough is enough. This is not the first time, nor is it likely to be the last, that this kind of degrading treatment is visited on passengers,” said Kate Hanni, one of those who endured the experience. “Thousands of legitimate complaints by travelers mistreated by the airlines are regularly dismissed or inadequately addressed by the industry.” The passengers said they received no explanation or apology from the airline. Similar legislation was proposed in 1999 but failed to win passage after the airlines agreed to a voluntary, but watered-down, version of the bill of rights. The passenger group says that customer service is even worse now, and they are building a consumer coalition to push for the new legislation. Their proposal includes a rule that if an airplane is held on the ground for more than three hours, the crew must connect to a gate and allow passengers to get off.