Bill would give airline passengers more rightsAt a “passenger rights” hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar discussed the importance of ensuring airline passengers basic protections and called for Congress to pass the Passenger Bill of Rights.
At a “passenger rights” hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar discussed the importance of ensuring airline passengers basic protections and called for Congress to pass the Passenger Bill of Rights.
Klobuchar, a member of the Commerce Committee Aviation subcommittee, is a cosponsor of this legislation. Also joining the event was Link Christin, a Minnesotan who was a passenger of Continental Flight 2816, which was stranded on a tarmac in Rochester for six hours in August.
“No passenger should be forced to remain on a tarmac for six hours without food, in an increasingly uncomfortable cabin atmosphere, and denied the opportunity to deplane and enter the airport,” said Klobuchar. “We must have basic standards in place to protect America’s airline passengers. They deserve no less. I will continue to advocate for the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights so we can ensure that passengers are treated properly.”
Two incidents occurred in August involving flights to Minnesota that highlight the need for a Passenger Bill of Rights, Klobuchar said.
Continental Flight 2816 was en route from Houston Intercontinental Airport to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on the evening of August 7 when it was redirected to Rochester International Airport due to severe weather. Passengers on the flight were then stranded on the tarmac for six hours.
Sun Country Flight 242, which was heading from New York’s JFK Airport to Minnesota on August 21, was stranded on the tarmac for more than five hours.
Nationally, 278 planes were delayed on the tarmac for three or more hours this past June, according to the FAA. The Passenger Bill of Rights would require that:
•Airlines provide passengers with food, potable water, comfortable cabin temperature and ventilation, and adequate restrooms during a delay.
•Airlines return to the gate once they have sat on the ground for three hours after the plane door has closed.
•Airports and airlines develop contingency plans for delayed flights to be federally reviewed and approved.
•The U.S. Transportation Department creates a consumer complaint hotline that passengers can call to alert the agency about delays.
The Passenger Bill of Rights was included in the FAA Reauthorization bill, which passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee in July.