A group of passengers who were stranded for 9 hours on an American Airlines flight that was grounded in Austin, TX have organized to lobby congress for a “Passenger’s Bill of Rights.” From the blog:
- Now things started getting serious. The lady next to me announced she had Diabetes, and began to beg the stewardesses for something to eat. She was shaking uncontrollably, and her husband looked really concerned. Her meds were in her luggage. The stewardesses found an old crusty bagel, and a milk (which she spit out instantly as “spoiled!”).
Eventually the crew took it upon themselves to pull the plane over to an open gate. The airline later apologized and offered passengers a $500 voucher, which is less, we might add, than AirTran compensated the booted toddler’s family. —MEGHANN MARCO
The Proposed Passenger’s Bill of Rights:
All American air carriers shall abide by the following standards to ensure the safety, security and comfort of their passengers:
Establish procedures to respond to all passenger complaints within 24 hours and with appropriate resolution within 2 weeks.
Notify passengers within ten minutes of a delay of known diversions, delays and cancellations via airport overhead announcement, on aircraft announcement, and posting on airport television monitors.
Establish procedures for returning passengers to terminal gate when delays occur so that no plane sits on the tarmac for longer than three hours without connecting to a gate.
Provide for the essential needs of passengers during air- or ground-based delays of longer than 3 hours, including food, water, sanitary facilities, and access to medical attention.
Provide for the needs of disabled, elderly and special needs passengers by establishing procedures for assisting with the moving and retrieving of baggage, and the moving of passengers from one area of airport to another at all times by airline personnel.
Publish and update monthly on the company’s public web site a list of chronically delayed flights, meaning those flight delayed thirty minutes or more, at least forty percent of the time, during a single month.
Compensate “bumped” passengers or passengers delayed due to flight cancellations or postponements of over 12 hours by refund of 150% of ticket price.
The formal implementation of a Passenger Review Committee, made up of non-airline executives and employees but rather passengers and consumers – that would have the formal ability to review and investigate complaints.
Make lowest fare information, schedules and itineraries, cancellation policies and frequent flyer program requirements available in an easily accessed location and updated in real-time.
Ensure that baggage is handled without delay or injury; if baggage is lost or misplaced, the airline shall notify customer of baggage status within 12 hours and provide compensation equal to current market value of baggage and its contents.
Require that these rights apply equally to all airline code-share partners including international partners.