The Airline Passengers Bill of Rights was introduced in the Senate today by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) And Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME). The bill will give airline passengers legal rights by preventing them from being held indefinitely on planes, ensuring passengers' needs are met, and helping airlines coordinate with government agencies.
The main provisions of the new bill are:
* Airlines to offer passengers the option of safely deplaning once they have sat on the ground for three hours after the plane door has closed.
* Airlines to provide passengers with food, potable water, comfortable cabin temperature and ventilation and adequate restrooms while a plane is delayed on the ground.
* A consumer complaint hotline so that passengers can alert the agency about delays.
* Airports and airlines to develop contingency plans to be reviewed and approved by DOT, and fines for air carriers and airports that do not submit or fail to comply with contingency plans.
"For far too long, the airlines have put profits ahead of customer service and the basic human needs of the flying public," said FlyersRights.org spokesperson, Kate Hanni. "It is our hope that this bill will give passengers a legal voice when confronted with the horrific ordeal that tens of thousands of passengers have endured when held for many hours on airport tarmacs without food, water and other essential human needs."