New York Governor Elliot Spitzer signed the first passengers bill of rights into law earlier this week. While the law only cover travelers at New York airports, the state is a major international travel hub, home to Kennedy and LaGuardia, two of the busiest airports in the country. The Air Transportation Association lobbied hard against the measure, saying: “No airline wants to subject passengers to long delays on tarmacs, but customer service can’t be legislated.” New York responded by legislating the following customer service measures:
Starting in 2008, food, water, fresh air, power, and working restrooms must be made available to any passenger stranded for more than three hours. Passengers who wish to complain about their service will be directed to the brand new Office of Airline Consumer Advocate within the Consumer Protection Board. Airlines that ignore the new passengers bill of rights may incur the wrath of the Attorney General, who can punish violators with civil penalties of up to $1,000 per passenger.
The national passengers bill of rights remains stuck
on the tarmac in committee. With Congress about to adjourn for the Summer District Work Period, don’t expect its passage anytime soon.
N.Y. is first state to OK a ‘fliers’ bill of rights’ [USA Today]